Stay informed about what's happening at the landfill

THR’s odor management plan: designed with our neighbors in mind

Monday, August 19, 2019

We seldom think about landfills in our day-to-day lives. However, landfills are complex engineered operations that require thoughtful management and active oversight. At Tunnel Hill Reclamation (THR), we have developed a sophisticated landfill gas management plan approved by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Landfill gas is produced as a natural byproduct of the decomposition of organic material in landfills. Landfill gas is composed of roughly 50% methane (the primary component of natural gas), 50% carbon dioxide (CO2) and a small amount of other organic compounds. While some gases are odorless, others have the potential to cause odors. Weather and atmospheric conditions can have an effect as well.

As a responsible operator committed to maintaining the comfort of our neighbors while complying with all applicable environmental laws and regulations, THR has developed a plan consisting of preventive measures, as well as monitoring to control gases at the landfill.

It all starts with efficient waste management practices. THR works quickly to unload and process incoming waste cars. This material is promptly placed within the landfill, where it is then covered with soil (or other Ohio EPA-approved cover) to minimize contact with the air. In the active areas of the landfill, this cover may consist of synthetic tarps and clean soil.

THR has invested heavily in an extensive network of gas collection wells and pipes. This system collects the landfill gas and sends it to a flare, where it is burned off. In 2019, THR completed the 13th expansion of this system since 2013. Expansion of the system will continue as new sections of the landfill come into use.

When the landfill becomes full, it is capped with a permanent water-tight cover, more soil and a vegetation cover typically consisting of grasses.

Meanwhile, we continually follow a thorough process to detect and address landfill gas sources. Some monitoring is conducted with sensitive scientific instruments to detect and measure gases, and also includes both on-site and off-site inspections by landfill personnel.

Although regulations require us to respond when we detect certain levels of gas, THR’s plan goes a step further by calling for proactive measures when we find even lower concentrations of certain gases. Our response may include adding more cover, regrading or recompacting areas where these low levels of gas are detected, or expansion of the landfill gas collection system.

Finally, THR has implemented an alert process, operated by a third-party contractor. The system notifies us immediately when someone reports an issue using our 24-hour Hotline (1-866-241-7418). We hope our neighbors will never have to use it. But if they do, we will investigate and get to the bottom of the issue as quickly as possible.