Landfill odors have impacts beyond landfill boundaries and are a nuisance to people in the landfill vicinity. Landfills located near or adjacent to residential and commercial neighborhoods, including those near industrial areas, get complaints from citizens, businesses, and regulatory agencies no matter how vigilant the operator is about controlling odors. Properly controlling odors at municipal solid waste landfills is a challenge that landfill operators deal with on a daily basis.
We are keenly aware that the means of masking, neutralizing, controlling, or eliminating odors are cumbersome and expensive. A privately operated regional landfill located in a high-profile urban area found an effective and cost-efficient solution to their odor problem. The term pin wells was coined by the landfill engineers who created and used the methodology. The pin wells proved their usefulness, resulting in dramatic, positive results with respect to effectively controlling odors from newly-placed waste.
As many as 20 wells can be installed in one day at a minimal cost. A 20-ft long, 3-inch diameter solid rod, which is similar to carpet poles or the poles used by geosynthetics installers to move rolls of materials, is pushed into the fresh waste placed in the disposal cell to open a vertical, narrow opening in waste. A 1-inch diameter, perforated PVC pipe is inserted into the hole and sand is placed in the annulus space between the pipe and the boring walls. The top of the pipe is connected via temporary laterals to a vacuum source, typically the existing landfill gas collection system. Care is needed to place just enough suction on the pin wells to control odors but not create significant air intrusion into the gas collection system, which could impact the flare or end-use, if in place. The spacing of the pin wells is decided by the operator and depends on what level of effort is needed to control off-site odors.
Pin wells may be installed at the top surface of a new waste lift until the next lift is placed. When the time comes to cover the previous lift with a new lift, the temporary pin wells are removed, and waste is pushed over. New temporary pin wells go in after the next lift is formed. Pin wells may be considered exempt from routine monitoring; the operator will need to check with the local state regulatory agency to obtain confirmation of state and local policy.
Pin wells may be the innovative and inexpensive odor control solution that could work for you too.
Ask the author a question: Dr. Ali Khatami