Landfills provide an essential service and play a key role in providing a positive quality of life to the communities they serve. However, if a landfill is not optimally managed, landfill odor issues can overshadow the benefits that the landfill provides. Odor complaints can lead to negative consequences including fines from the EPA, operational shutdowns, hindered business performance and damaged community relations. Some landfills have received fines related to their odors in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. In 2023, the odor at a Virginia landfill resulted in a $377,000 fine1 while a New York landfill agreed to pay a fine of $671,000 in 2024.2
The presence of odor is an indicator that landfill gas is not being captured. In addition to the odor, this means that emissions may also be escaping and posing a longer-term impact on the atmosphere. According to WASTE 360,3 emissions of airborne pollutants can last anywhere from 30 to 100 years, even after the landfill has technically closed.3
It is critical for landfills to be proactive and capture landfill gas. In addition to minimizing odors and improving air quality, upgrading the landfill gas to renewable natural gas (RNG) presents a significant economic opportunity.
Landfill gas consists of methane (the primary component of natural gas), carbon dioxide, and various other compounds, including siloxanes, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and hydrogen sulfide, which cause strong odors. Through an RNG project, landfill gas is captured and upgraded to almost pure methane. This purified methane can then be injected into natural gas pipelines for use as transportation fuel or to replace conventional natural gas.
The purification process involves removing oxygen, hydrogen sulfide, volatile organic compounds, and moisture. By converting landfill gas into RNG, we not only reduce odors and emissions at the landfill but also meet the growing demand for sustainable and renewable energy sources.
Start Reducing Landfill Odors & Increasing Revenue
Kinder Morgan RNG is a leading RNG developer with a diverse portfolio of landfill gas projects. We work with the largest landfill owners in the industry as well as landfills that are owned privately or by local municipalities. Schedule a consultation today to learn how an RNG project can help you address landfill gas odors and emissions while generating a new revenue stream.
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1. City of Bristol settles with Virginia AG over odor issues at Bristol’s landfill - Cardinal News
2. Niagara Falls landfill operator agrees to pay $671,000 fine (buffalonews.com)
3. Odor Management at Landfills: The Current State of the Art (waste360.com)