As some landfill owners have learned the hard way, the co-disposal of construction and demolition (C&D) fines or sulfur-containing industrial wastes in municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills can generate hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas. H2S emissions are problematic at a landfill as they can cause odor, create worker safety issues, and cause wear or damage to landfill gas (LFG) collection and energy utilization components. Sulfur content in landfill gas can also impact air permitting for a landfill, either in the form of fugitive H2S emissions or sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions from combustion.
We will discuss the biological, chemical and physical conditions necessary for H2S generation in a landfill. H2S generation can be prevented by knowing which waste types are likely to contain sulfate and testing incoming waste streams when appropriate. We will also discuss the complexities in trying to model and predict H2S generation in MSW landfills. For sites with high H2S concentrations and/or low H2S limits, we will review different H2S treatment technologies in use today.