The unsung hero at landfills with a landfill gas collection system is the humble Wellfield Technician. The position of Wellfield Technician is multifaceted; this individual needs to be well equipped to deal with constant changes. A good technician is capable of:
All while communicating effectively with those on their team, during all kinds of weather and changing conditions.
One practice that most good Technicians embrace is keeping effective field notes. Those not engaging in this practice should consider doing so. Field notes and comments added to a row of monitoring data can be of great future value to the technician and the rest of the team. Accurate and detailed field notes contain information that can help the project team when it comes time to diagnose, repair, or troubleshoot various wellfield issues.
Whether it’s a handwritten entry in a logbook, a comment stored in a field instrument, or notes saved in a smartphone, tablet, or computer, the information recorded in field notes is indispensable for the proper, efficient maintenance of the wellfield.
Technicians are hard-pressed to recall every detail during the hectic daily push to get the wellfield read, while multitasking and keeping up with items that pop up at a moment’s notice. By keeping track of this information through note-taking or SCSeTools®, the technician can be more efficient over time – they won’t be scratching their head, trying to remember a detail important to a task.
Examples of items we track in our database include: wellhead valve positions, surging in vacuum supply risers at wellheads, required maintenance of sample ports, flex hoses, audible wellhead leaks, ponding water around wells, surface cracks around a well, and borehole backfill material settlement.
Regardless of how recorded, save field notes as valuable points of reference.
Handwritten notes are entered into a preventative maintenance program or a wellfield database so that they are accessible for use in planning repairs or troubleshooting problems. Another option is to capture them automatically, even noting the GSI coordinates into a database such as SCSeTools, to save time and lessen transcription errors.
Once completing wellfield monitoring and tuning, technicians then use comments or notes as a punch-list to return to the wellfield − ready to perform maintenance or repairs. These are the actions that keep the landfill gas collection components operating efficiently, and clients’ happy.
About the Author: Ken Brynda is an SCS Field Services OM&M Compliance Manager in North Carolina. He is an active member of SWANA’s Landfill Gas and Biogas Technical Division, Field Practices Committee serving clients for over 30 years. Ken’s expertise includes the design, construction, operation and maintenance, evaluation, troubleshooting, and assessment of landfill gas collection and control systems and LFG-to-energy production facilities.
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On July 7, 2020, the City of Brownsville Commission approved a recommendation by the Engineering and Public Works Department to continue an existing multi-year partnership with SCS Engineers. SCS is an environmental consulting and contracting firm that will serve the City for an additional five years. The environmental contracts support the Landfill Gas Collection and Control System (GCCS) expansion and provide landfill engineering, compliance, monitoring and operations assistance.
Project Director, J. Roy Murray, an SCS vice president, and the team’s principal consulting engineer will continue to serve the City’s citizens and staff. Mr. Murray has decades of experience in civil and environmental permitting, design, and construction at municipal solid waste landfills (MSW), including 20 years serving the Brownsville Landfill. Mr. Murray states:
The City staff and Commission continues to entrust SCS Engineers to help the landfill staff with the safe, efficient, and compliant operation of the landfill. We are honored by their trust. The City of Brownsville MSW Landfill Operations team serves the City well. The facility is the primary solid waste disposal site for surrounding communities, carefully engineered and maintained regularly even during severe weather and now a pandemic. The forethought of the Landfill Division, their leadership, and innovative practices provide the citizens with stellar services while protecting the environment.
The initial installation of the City Landfill’s Gas Collection and Control System (GCCS) completed in 2011, was part of an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant the City received from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. SCS Engineers assisted with the application process, and as a result of the collaboration, the City received a $1.7 million grant to install a landfill gas collection system at the landfill. With GCCS operation, the City has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions. The landfill infrastructure and emission reductions were voluntary at the time, but the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Air Quality rules and regulations, and EPA’s New Source Performance Standards, now require them.
The Gas Collection and Control System consists of 16 landfill gas extraction wells and currently provides coverage of 32 acres of the City Landfill’s disposal footprint. The City plans to expand the GCCS during 2021, to support landfill’s growth and stricter air permit regulations. The expansion includes 38 additional wells covering 120 acres of the landfill footprint. The new wells will integrate with the collection system and integrate with liquids management, leachate control, and stormwater systems, among others.
About SCS Engineers
SCS Engineers’ environmental solutions and technology are a direct result of our experience and dedication to solid waste management and other industries responsible for safeguarding the environment. For more information about SCS, please follow us on your preferred social media channel, or watch our 50th Anniversary video.