landfill gas

Hydrogen Sulfide Balancing Act – Act Fast, Think Long-Term | SCS Engineers

October 11, 2021

Sim emphasizes that operators should not be surprised or act too quickly when they turn on the gas extraction system and see spikes in H2S concentrations. He explains why below…

 

Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) levels are creeping up at some landfills, especially those that take C&D waste; some are seeing concentrations in the thousands to 30,000 parts per million (up from about 20 to 40 ppm ten years ago). And even at very low concentrations, H2S can be problematic.

Material Recovery Facility residuals, which typically contain significant amounts of pulverized drywall, are high in gypsum and sulfate. Once broken down, residuals become a high-surface-area material, leaching into and spreading through waste. When reacting with water and organics, it can potentially generate H2S. With a drive to divert more C&D debris, and regulations tightening around H2S, operators’ jobs get harder as they work to stave off emissions from this corrosive, flammable compound notorious for its “rotten egg” odor.

When building out their gas collection systems, controlling H2S becomes even more daunting. Sol Sim, an SCS Engineers Vice President, explains, “We see H2S concentrations jump when we expand landfill gas collection systems, often in cells that contain C&D residual screening materials. The gas was there all along but sequestered. Now it’s coming out of the ground, and the onset of issues can spike suddenly.”

SCS DataServices Hydrogen Sulfide Range Map is useful for quickly locating potential treatment locations by visualizing the big picture and zooming in on individual wells or well clusters to assign staff.

When spikes come on quickly, Sim’s team implements turnkey interim treatment approaches. They start by identifying the gas collection wells with the highest contributors and act fast to get them into compliance.

SCS teams take a two-pronged approach by stepping back and thinking about the big picture while taking action. It provides a major advantage to moving too quickly.

The more data, the better. Your engineers can simulate treatment with various media to assess the impact on flare inlet concentrations. And knowing potential impact at the flare is critical; it’s the compliance point where regulators measure sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions.

SO2 can’t be controlled through combustion, so removing H2S from waste before sending gas to the flare is essential. Sim thinks back to problems he’s investigated for clients who had SO2 sneak up on them, causing failed sulfur dioxide emissions testing.

The proactive measure of identifying problematic gas wells and treating them is key to staying in compliance. And Sim often finds clients using interim solutions as long as they can. He has seen them work well for up to five years but they don’t resolve operators’ long-term issues, which will become more challenging as our waste streams continue to change or as landfills continue to accept more and more C&D materials.

“We solve immediate issues, address the impact of incoming materials several years in advance, and begin planning for the next 20 years. It’s how we determine strategies to minimize emissions and improve efficiencies into the future with consideration to needs as landfilling and recycling evolve.”

“We’re going to investigate thoroughly to pinpoint and understand the cause, but we do take immediate action in the interim. As part of the solution, we’ll develop an informed strategy to prevent issues well into the future,” he says.

For the longer haul, it takes time to get building permits. Coming up with permanent engineering designs and treatments requires a lot of troubleshooting and research. Even once engineers identify a lasting fix, it takes time to manufacture and install larger vessels and other infrastructure.

 

But they don’t wait for all these pieces to come together to act.

The priority is getting operators in compliance right away or taking down emissions if they are on the verge of noncompliance. As work begins, operators can breathe a little easier knowing they have time to figure out how to allocate resources and funds to implement a more permanent strategy.

“We’ve seen where data we’ve gathered while working on the immediate problem enables our clients to gain insight to make good decisions around rightsizing their infrastructure moving forward,” Sim says.

 

Watch and study while addressing the immediate problem.

Sim emphasizes that operators should not be surprised or act too quickly when they turn on the gas extraction system and see spikes in H2S concentrations.  There is usually an initial spike from a new high H2S producing area at the onset of gas collection.  He has seen operators abruptly stop extracting, which can lead to odors or other compliance issues.

“When you put in a treatment system, you can take out the initial surge in H2S to allow time for the concentrations to level out. It’s important to allow that window for initial surges to run their course to understand the problem better. Otherwise, you could over-design your system around a short-term event,” Sim advises.

He points to a real-life scenario: a site that skipped the interim step of starting with a less expensive initial solution. Once they started drawing on the gas, they realized the problem was not as substantial as originally thought, and they didn’t need a multi-million-dollar system in the end.

 

A balancing act.

“Imagine H2S generation as an expanding balloon; if you pop it, air rushes out fast [akin to when you first pull gas from the ground]. That concentration level scares people. But if you react by shutting off extraction points, your balloon will continue to expand and eventually create odor problems. The goal is to extract the gas and H2S at the rate it is being generated, so it’s a balancing act, where expertise and technology both play key roles,” Sim says.

Early work typically begins by identifying wells that are the highest contributors and concentrating efforts there. It’s a complex process as sites can have fifty to thousands of collection points. Having the historical data and saving the data to watch the trend makes identifying and analyzing specific wells or clusters much more efficient.

Successfully attacking those high offenders requires an understanding of flow and concentrations.  After locating the problem area, Sim takes samples using Dräger tubes at strategic points throughout individual wells and headers to identify concentrations. Gas well monitoring and the corresponding flow data will tell you if you’ve taken emissions down sufficiently.

 

More Resources:

Landfill Design-Build-OM&M

SCSeTools Landfill Data Monitoring and Analysis 

Staying Ahead of Odor Management at Solid Waste Facilities

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

Using Data to Maximize Landfill Gas Efficiencies

September 23, 2021

Recorded September 23, 2021, On-Demand Below

Our SCS Client Webinar focuses on landfill gas maintenance and how Landfill Operators create more efficient operations using their monitoring data. Scott Messier, Site Operations Manager at the Monterey Regional Waste Management District, will join us to describe how he finds efficiencies.

Our panel discusses common operational challenges such as locating new LFG wells, locating the cause of odors or surface emission monitoring hits, determining the cause of LFG migration to probes, identifying obstructions in the header network, getting more gas for a power plant and preventing migration, and identifying elevated temperature conditions.

Watch Now: Using Data to Maximize Landfill Gas Efficiencies

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 2:00 pm

SCS Client Webinar – Compliance During the NSPS/EG and NESHAP Transition Period – July 15, 1:30 pm EASTERN

July 15, 2021

THIS LIVE EVENT WAS RECORDED ON JULY 15, 2021

The EPA’s published clarifications, technical revisions, and new rule versions for the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) and New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for MSW landfills may feel like alphabet soup right now.

SCS Engineers’ webinar and open Q/A forum live on July 15, 2021, at 1:30 Eastern is free and could help keep you informed and on track for compliance by September 27, 2021.

Our panelists advise on the essential key information, deadlines, and changes to field operations to address during the transition from the old to the new NESHAP and NSPS rules.

  • Surface emissions monitoring;
  • Wellhead monitoring and corrective action requirements;
  • Delegation of authority to the state, local, or tribal agencies for emission standards;
  • Applicability of the General Provisions under 40 CFR 63, Subpart A to affected landfills;
  • Monitoring data for control devices during startup, shutdown, and malfunctions (SSM);
  • Gas collection and control system installation;
  • Compliance timing and reporting;
  • Open question and answer throughout the webinar.

 

View Compliance During the NSPS/EG and NESHAP Transition Period Now

Posted by Diane Samuels at 1:30 pm

What landfills need to do to transition to Federal Landfill Air Regulations…

July 7, 2021

The EPA’s published clarifications, technical revisions, and new rule versions for the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) and New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for MSW landfills may feel like alphabet soup right now.

SCS Engineers’ upcoming webinar and open Q/A forum on July 15, 2021, at 1:30 Eastern Time is free and could help keep you informed and on track for compliance by September 27, 2021.


Our panelists will advise on the essential key information, deadlines, and changes to field operations to address during the transition from the old to the new NESHAP and NSPS rules.

• Surface emissions monitoring;
• Wellhead monitoring and corrective action requirements;
• Delegation of authority to the state, local, or tribal agencies for emission standards;
• Applicability of the General Provisions under 40 CFR 63, Subpart A to affected landfills;
• Monitoring data for control devices during startup, shutdown, and malfunctions (SSM);
• Gas collection and control system installation;
• Compliance timing and reporting;
• Open question and answer throughout the webinar.

 

REGISTER for Compliance During the NSPS/EG and NESHAP Transition Period

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

The Alphabet Soup of New NSPS/EG and NESHAP Regulations Explained – In Time for Deadlines

July 1, 2021

nsps
Register for SCS Engineers’ free webinar on July 15, at 1:30 pm EASTERN TIME.

 

The EPA’s published clarifications, technical revisions, and new rule versions for the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) and New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for MSW landfills may feel like alphabet soup right now.

SCS Engineers’ upcoming webinar and open Q/A forum on July 15, 2021, at 1:30 Eastern is free and could help keep you informed and on track for compliance by September 27, 2021.


Our panelists will advise on the essential key information, deadlines, and changes to field operations to address during the transition from the old to the new NESHAP and NSPS rules.

• Surface emissions monitoring;
• Wellhead monitoring and corrective action requirements;
• Delegation of authority to the state, local, or tribal agencies for emission standards;
• Applicability of the General Provisions under 40 CFR 63, Subpart A to affected landfills;
• Monitoring data for control devices during startup, shutdown, and malfunctions (SSM);
• Gas collection and control system installation;
• Compliance timing and reporting;
• Open question and answer throughout the webinar.

 

REGISTER for Compliance During the NSPS/EG and NESHAP Transition Period

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 10:38 am

SWANA Virtual Landfill Challenges Summit

June 17, 2021

The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) is hosting a virtual Landfill Challenges Summit on Thursday, June 17.

This half-day, virtual event will bring together landfill, landfill gas, and biogas professionals from throughout the United States and Canada. Industry experts from the public and private sectors will discuss current and future challenges that are expected to impact landfill operations and landfill gas production, and what lessons can be applied as we move forward.

The virtual summit will be followed by an on-line networking event.

Visit the summit site for details and registration information

 

 

 

Posted by Laura Dorn at 1:00 pm

SCS Webinar: Using GIS Technology on Landfills, Facilities, and Development Projects

June 10, 2021

Recorded Live Thursday, June 10 at 2:00 pm ET

 

Watch Using GIS Technology on Landfills, Facilities, and Development Projects Now

 

GIS improves operational efficiency at waste facilities, landfills and helps keep development projects on schedule. GIS technology transforms volumes of collected data into maps and easy-to-understand dashboards – making staff assignments and decisions more precise and timely.

Our panelists use case studies to demonstrate how they use this proven technology in new ways to improve forensic, diagnostic, and planning activities. Join us to learn how your operation may also leverage GIS to address these challenges:

Landfills: Operators make diagnostic and forensic use of GIS to address maintenance tasks faster. We’ll cover modeling 3D wells and liquid level data, showing how GIS embedded dashboards and infographics pinpoint exactly where to assign staff. At the same time, supervisors monitor completed assignments seeing real-time results and what still needs attention.

Siting Facilities: Decision-makers use multi-criteria decision analysis incorporated into a geographic information system to account for relevant technical data, environmental, social, and economic factors during the site selection of a waste transfer station. The resulting maps and infographics are useful at public meetings too.

Property Development: Time is money on development projects. Environmental engineers use GIS to more accurately pinpoint potential contamination sources, conduct site assessments, strategize remediation solutions, and see sampling results weeks faster. Infographics and dashboards show if and exactly where to continue sampling without waiting weeks or months for reports.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 2:00 pm

Melissa Russo Thirsts for Knowledge and Enjoys Competition

June 3, 2021

 

When Melissa Russo’s boss Phil Carrillo told her he thought she should get her drone pilot license, she thought he was kidding. At the time, she worked on SCS’s Remote Control (RMC) team; selling drone services was a part of her job, but she had not thought of flying these unmanned vehicles herself.

Her thirst for competition kicked in when he turned the proposition into a bet. He was going after his pilot license himself; she bet she’d beat his score. They finished in a dead heat, but what started as friendly rivalry ended up bringing a new dimension to Russo’s job— a job that continues to expand in breadth as new opportunities turn up.

Today she not only flies, sells drone services, and teaches others how to sell and fly, but she’s helped bring geographical information systems (GIS) into RMC’s portfolio. How these technologies fit together is RMC remotely collects data from drones and different landfill systems. Then the GIS translates that data into maps, capturing a visual picture of how clients’ facilities’ systems are performing. The GIS piece is one of the latest chapters in the story of Russo’s evolving role (more to come on that).

 

Piloting is what especially gets her juices going.

Drone monitoring pipelines.

“I love working with my team, supporting them in what they do. But when it comes to drones, I like the hands-on experience of flying myself more than telling other people how to do it.”

She controls these small aircraft from a device on the ground, sharply focused on her surroundings while keeping the drone in her sight at all times.

“You have to make sure there are no manned vehicles around; they have the right of way. And there’s a lot of continuous movement on landfills. You’re constantly aware of your surroundings. Is a truck coming? Am I in line with where dumping is going on?”

 

Flying drones takes muscle and mechanical aptitude.

The drone and case can weigh 45 pounds. And there are a lot of moving parts to assemble and calibrate.

Sometimes it’s manual work, pointing and rotating a remote controller to send a radio signal to tell the drone what to do. But more often, she pilots automated flights that she maps in advance and uploads the flight path specs into software that interfaces with the drone.

“When I’m flying drones, I can access areas where if I had boots on the ground, I couldn’t. I can go and explore just about anywhere, similar to when I dream— only it’s real,” she says.

With any task, she’s laser-focused, concentrating on one part of the picture at a time to grasp the details. She steps back and uses critical thinking, accumulated knowledge, and imagination to take on what’s before her.

 

The innovation process

“We’re pretty lucky with our timing; new and proven technologies are emerging quickly. I’m one of many SCSers with a deep knowledge of technology and practical experience in the solid waste industry. Together, we can make a difference because we understand the business and operational challenges very well. When I need an expert in another industry, I just reach out to a colleague. The learning process never ends, and each project helps me and my team constantly find better answers.

“My boss is more of a big-picture person; his ideas are huge and amazing. He comes to me with new ideas, and I figure out how to make them work and implement them,” Russo says.

She points to his idea to use proven GIS technology within RMC. She was already using GIS to map methane data, process topographic maps, and stockpile calculations. For instance, she integrates methane values into the GIS and overlaps them with imagery so her clients can zoom in on one well or get a large-scale view of the overall health of the gas collection system. But integrating GIS in new ways to incorporate multiple landfill systems would solve some expensive problems and, better yet, prevent even more expensive mitigation and repairs.

 

Expanding GIS applications to illustrate multiple landfill systems

Examining multiple wellfield conditions, then zooming in on specific well metrics makes assigning field staff and technicians more efficient. See liquid levels, and many other conditions well by well, or in “hot” areas for LFG diagnosis.

“I know drones and how to process drone data. But now that we are expanding applications, I add more layers of landfill data, such as liquids, soil, the gas collection and control system (GCCS), SCADA, and surface emissions, to bring them into the RMC GIS platform. My colleagues are demonstrating these technologies at the SCS June Client Webinar.”

“I created a team of hand-picked SCS staff with both GIS and waste management backgrounds (and a whole lot of drive) to make the vision come to life,” she says. “That’s how we innovate, tight teams with access to nationwide expertise.”

Within six months of the project’s genesis, Russo and her team had integrated gas and liquid collection systems, other landfill systems, and asset management into the RMC GIS platform. She and her team now sell these applications nationwide.

 

Russo’s come a long way since joining SCS at age 21

In her mind, she grew up at the company. Before coming on board, she managed a shop in Manhattan Beach, California, while she began thinking about what to do next.

“I learned a lot about business and people. It was a stepping-stone – I discovered how to earn trust, build rapport, and sell. But in time, I decided I wanted a more professional job,” she recalls.

She went to work for a real estate company managing the SCS Engineers Long Beach office, where she would soon take an entry-level Accounts Payable position in SCS Field Services.

In time, she transitioned to the Health and Safety group, assisting in creating training material and managing truck fleets. Soon she was managing assets, among other firsts for her. By this point, she had developed enough software, accounting, and other administrative skills to step up fast.

Part of the job was keeping up with vehicle maintenance, so she often spoke with field staff. Many of them she already knew from her days working in the accounting department.

 

Growing with her SCS colleagues

“When I was in my first administrative roles, I supported many colleagues who were field techs or supervisors; they are project managers now. It feels as though we’ve grown up together, and we know and trust each other. We collaborate well and know that when we bring projects to each other that we will take care of each other,” Russo says.

She especially likes the RMC concept because remote control and automation enable her, her clients, and her team to work smarter, not harder because they leverage the technology to work for them.

“That means we can usually work from anywhere, giving all of us more time for family, friends, or allocating the time saved towards other needed to-dos. I’m up at five a.m. and, at times, may not finish work until nine at night. Somehow, us working women find the balance in between meetings, writing proposals, and answering emails; I have lunch with my two boys or take them to a park,” she says.

Bambi Lance, a veteran SCSer and her mother, works in the same business unit as Melissa does. “Mom’s been here for 16 years, and it’s interesting to have her perspective not only as my mom but as someone who knows SCS. She knows my department, and she knows me. She sees what I am doing and she along with management encourage me to do more and believe in myself.”

Russo reflects again on the concept of stepping-stones on the way to knowledge and maturity. I’m competitive and take on challenges, which has been a driving force in all I do today. It’s helped me take a personal inventory of how I am now versus the young Melissa,” she says.

She uses it to gauge her direction. And she uses it to connect to her staff. “I try to help them see you can turn almost any experience, into a positive. I want my team to see we are all learning and growing. They can, as I can, comfortably bring new ideas to the group and company, which often turn into new ways to help clients.”

She circles back to her decision to fly drones, explaining how it aligns with her career path from her first steps to today. “Becoming a pilot was a natural fit because it’s a new challenge. The craving to take on new tasks is how I grew from an accounting administrator to a project coordinator up to a business manager. It’s wanting to expand my knowledge, tackle new feats, and accomplish what I was not sure I could do. I like the challenge.”

 

More videos and information.

The SCS Culture is Driven by Client Success

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 3:15 pm

SWANA 2021 Landfill Challenges Summit on June 17

June 3, 2021

The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) is hosting a virtual summit in place of SOAR this June 17th. The Landfill Challenges Summit presents sessions from 12:00 – 5:00 pm EDT and on-demand sessions throughout the conference.

The Landfill Challenges Summit brings together landfill, landfill gas, and biogas professionals throughout the United States and Canada. Industry experts, including those at SCS Engineers, will discuss current and future challenges that are expected to impact landfill operations and landfill gas production and what lessons can be applied as we move forward.

REGISTER HERE

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 8:00 am

SCS Engineers Technical Bulletin Published – Federal Plan for Landfill EG Rule – May 24, 2021

May 24, 2021

SCS Engineers Technical Bulletins

 

SCS Engineers periodically prepares SCS Technical Bulletins – short, clear summaries of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules and plans. On May 21, 2021, the EPA published a Federal Plan to implement the new Emission Guideline (EG) rule for municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills. The Federal Plan is published under Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 62, Subpart OOO.

Read, share, download the Federal Plan for Landfill EG Rule Tech Bulletin here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 5:22 pm