On November 30, 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency announced it is aggressively addressing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the environment. The agency announced two steps that it states would help ensure that federally enforceable wastewater monitoring for PFAS can begin as soon as validated analytical methods are finalized.
First, EPA issued a memorandum detailing an interim National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting strategy for addressing PFAS in EPA-issued wastewater permits.
EPA’s interim NPDES permitting strategy for PFAS advises EPA permit writers to consider including PFAS monitoring at facilities where these chemicals are expected to be present in wastewater discharges, including from municipal separate storm sewer systems and industrial stormwater permits. The PFAS that could be considered for monitoring will have validated EPA analytical methods for wastewater testing. The agency anticipates being available on a phased-in schedule as multi-lab validated wastewater analytical methods are finalized. The agency’s interim strategy encourages the use of best management practices where appropriate to control or abate the discharge of PFAS and includes recommendations to facilitate information sharing to foster adoption of best practices across states and localities.
Second, EPA released information on progress in developing new analytical methods to test for PFAS compounds in wastewater and other environmental media.
In coordination with the interim NPDES permitting strategy, EPA is developing analytical methods in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Defense to test for PFAS in wastewater and other environmental media, such as soils. The agency is releasing a list of 40 PFAS chemicals that are the subject of analytical method development. This method would be in addition to Method 533 and Method 537.1 that are already approved and can measure 29 PFAS chemicals in drinking water. EPA anticipates that multi-lab validated testing for PFAS will be finalized in 2021. For more information on testing method validation, see https://www.epa.gov/cwa-methods.
EPA continues to expand its PFAS Action Plan to protect the environment and human health. To date, it has assisted more than 30 states in helping address PFAS, and the agency is continuing to build on this support. Across the nation, the EPA has addressed PFAS using a variety of enforcement tools under SDWA, TSCA, RCRA, and CERCLA (where appropriate), and will continue to protect public health and the environment.
The agency is also validating analytical methods for surface water, groundwater, wastewater, soils, sediments, and biosolids; developing new methods to test for PFAS in air and emissions; and improving laboratory methods to discover unknown PFAS. EPA is developing exposure models to understand how PFAS moves through the environment to impact people and ecosystems.
This blog references information issued from the US EPA, Office of Public Engagement.
SCS Engineers’ newest environmental technology application is for use at solid waste facilities and landfills. These sites require specific monitoring and analyses of groundwater and liquids, landfill gas – LFG, and surface emissions critical to facility infrastructure and the environment.
“We work side-by-side with our clients at hundreds of facilities nationwide. SCS MobileTools® supports operating decisions, whether our client is managing one site or hundreds,” states Pete Carrico, senior vice president and assistant director of SCS Field Services.” The App’s interface gives clients quick access to information that drives critical operating decisions and provides data for corporate directives and landfill gas OM&M programs for regional or national operations.
SCS MobileTools® is the iOS and Android mobile interface for the SCSeTools® platform. Access to data to make informed decisions is especially valuable when technicians are in the field, or operators are working remotely. Landfill and solid waste facility owners, operators, and technicians use the new application to observe system and environmental activity securely and in real-time on a mobile phone or device.
Featuring state-of-the-art technology, SCS MobileTools® provides users the ability to interact with a site or facility data, including site-specific monitoring and exceedance metrics for landfill gas, liquid levels, and surface emissions. Responsive, touch-enabled flow data charting is accessible, illustrating flow targets, reading dates, flow rates, and historical flow data analysis.
When compared year-over-year, generation and disposal trends produce information critical to assessing optimal options and solutions that represent significant savings for landfill gas Operations, Maintenance & Monitoring – OM&M programs. For this reason, the savings compound for regional or national operators.
For instance, monitoring and analyzing landfill gas generation and collection data against modeled estimates are valuable information. SCS MobileTools® handles the input, analysis, review, and export of landfill gas flow and related information, specifically flow rates, impacts on gas collection (e.g., extraction well liquid levels), and analytical data for data collection points.
In SCS’s release pipeline, SCS MobileTools® will include mapping and visualization functions in early 2021. SCS MobileTools® is available for download on the Apple App Store for iPhones and iPads, Google Play for Android.
It’s been 10 years since the first Research, Development, and Demonstration (RD&D) Plans were approved allowing liquids to be applied to municipal solid waste landfills in Wisconsin. What have we learned?
Under an approved RD&D Plan, landfill operators can apply liquids other than recirculated leachate to the waste at municipal solid waste landfills. The RD&D Rule was published by US EPA in 2004, and states had the option of adopting the rule and issuing RD&D approvals. Wisconsin was an early adopter, and 13 of the approximately 30 landfill sites in the US with RD&D approvals are in Wisconsin.
This presentation will look at data from the Wisconsin landfills with RD&D Plans. Each site is required to report annually on a very detailed basis. For this presentation we will zoom out and look at the data on an aggregated basis to address big-picture questions. What are the trends in volumes applied for leachate recirculation versus RD&D Liquids? How do these volumes compare with precipitation? What liquid waste streams have been accepted and how have they been applied? How has RD&D liquid application affected landfill gas generation?
We will also provide an update on the regulatory status of the RD&D rule. On May 10, 2016, a final federal rule was published that revised the maximum permit term from 12 years to 21 years; however, WDNR will have to adopt this change in order for it to be available to Wisconsin landfills.
We continue SCS’s Advice from the Field blog series with guidance from an article in MSW Magazine by Daniel R. Cooper, Jason Timmons, and Stephanie Liptak.
The authors of a recent article in MSW Management Magazine present engineering ideas that provide for more efficient construction of a GCCS. Gas system operators will benefit by having fewer pumps to operate and maintain and shallower headers that are more easily accessible. Odor management will be easier along with other benefits.
Read the full article here to learn about the design elements for maximizing long-term benefits, impacting: bottom liners, location of the blower/flare station, leachate risers, extraction well targets, and external header piping.
On October 11, SCS Engineers’ David Hostetter and Phil Carrillo present several case studies during the webinar demonstrating how Remote Control Monitoring (RMC) has lifted the burden of data collection and facilitates the review and analysis of data for use in decision-making.
In this webinar, several case studies regarding remote monitoring and control (RMC) systems for landfill gas and leachate systems will be presented. This includes a description of integrated systems which are used for data collection and analysis and how they were used to identify, troubleshoot and solve real problems in an effective and efficient manner.SCS recognized this as an issue in the industry and developed systems to streamline the process using the latest technology to help perform routine, sometimes complex, data analysis, and to automatically push reports and alerts to operators, engineers, and project managers. This has been a dramatic change that removes human error while reviewing pages of data and allows people to focus on what really matters.
RMC systems give the ability to:
Watch Dave’s video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYezcobr1Cg
Dave explains how landfill owners/operators use SCS RMC® to view, operate, and control field equipment. The presentation covers how SCS RMC® helps to reduce operating costs – sending technicians to respond when necessary to alerts from flare systems, leachate systems, and air quality sensors. SCS helps manage all field resources and personnel better while enhancing reporting and data management too.
Register for the EREF webinar here: https://erefdn.org/event/remote-monitoring-and-automating-processes-at-landfills/
The past few decades of advancements in developing new drainage media have led to the use of geocomposites as the primary drainage layer above the bottom lining system geomembrane. However, you need to be watchful for the free flow of leachate through the thin layer of geocomposite under high gas pressures near the bottom lining system.
Short of investigations and clear guidelines for addressing high gas pressure near the bottom lining system, you can use a gas pressure relief system near the bottom in future new disposal cells. The pressure relief system can simply include a few perforated high-density polyethylene pipes laid in parallel directly above the soil layer placed above the bottom lining system drainage layer, as shown in the schematic.
About the author: Dr. Ali Khatami
SCS Engineers met a tight, non-negotiable regulatory deadline to get the new plant on-line while meeting non-toxic effluent standards.
Everyone enjoys before and after pictures; just look at the results New Hanover County’s program is producing. This and other County programs are helping this North Carolina county reduce reliance on landfill disposal while creating a comprehensive and sustainable solid waste management system that is protective of the environment.
In 2016 a new wastewater treatment plant was commissioned at the New Hanover County Landfill. The new facility processes approximately 65,000 gallons per day (GPD) of leachate using state-of-the-art ultrafiltration (UF) and reverse osmosis (RO) technologies to meet or exceed federal and state treatment standards.
The raw leachate is pre-treated in an existing aerobic lagoon followed by a sequencing batch reactor (SBR) to reduce organic constituents. The pretreated effluent then flows into the membrane system. Using state-of-the-art membrane filtration technology, including ultrafiltration (UF) pictured at lower left, and a reverse osmosis (RO) system, pictured lower right, to produce crystal clear, effluent discharged to an upper tributary of the Cape Fear River.
The new facility can process 75,000 GPD and the Wastewater treated through the new system meets state Drinking Water standards for quality.
Tough surface water discharge standards and predictable performance in cold weather drove the design to use UF/RO systems. The results are impressive; metals including arsenic are BDL, ammonia <0.2 ppm, and TSS < 2 ppm. The system produces approximately 13,000 GPD of RO concentrate that is pumped to the working face and safely disposed of in the landfill. The County has certified operators that have played a big role in getting the plant shaken down and running smoothly.
“New Hanover County is an industry leader in adopting proven technologies to better manage solid waste, and protect the environment. This kind of planning and approach can benefit many other public works departments,” stated Bruce Clark, PE, BCES, LEED AP®, and SCS Engineers National Expert on Waste Conversion.
As Joe Suleyman, the County’s Environmental Management Director put it, “Let’s face it – people move to New Hanover County because they love to be in, on, or near the water. Our technical staff is composed of very talented folks who have environmental science and biology backgrounds. They believe in what they’re doing to help protect our delicate coastal environment, and this state-of-the-art system is a huge stride towards meeting our own expectations and those of the citizens we serve.”
See more case studies, services, and professionals on the SCS Engineers – Liquids Management Website
What makes Sol shine so brightly?
For Solavann Sim it’s his positive qualities as an individual and his ability to work effectively using a multidisciplinary approach with his clients. Our industry’s strongest and most respected leaders are those who are considered collaborative, not fixated on making all decisions themselves or working in a silo. On the contrary, innovation happens at the crossroads of different disciplines and that is where Sol shines brightest.
Sol’s landfill gas design-build and operations experience, along with his knowledge of hydrogen sulfide treatment programs, help prevent and mitigate potential problems quickly. His comprehensive technical and field competence, along with his clients, and his team comprised of staff in several disciplines approach solutions in various ways; each having unique perspectives but a common goal. Working collaboratively with clients the team solves complex challenges facing landfill owners and operators. Innovative solutions are often found where perspectives, ideas, and fields of expertise meet.
See SCS’s 40+ years of innovative thinking at SCS Firsts an interactive list of client solutions, underneath News, Events, and Blogs.
Waste Management & Research, August 1, 2016,
Ravi Kadambala, SCS Engineers, Boca Raton, FL
Jon Powell, Gainesville, FL, USA
Karamjit Singh, Jacksonville, FL, USA
Timothy G Townsend, Gainesville, FL
Vertical liquids addition systems have been used at municipal landfills as a leachate management method and to enhance biostabilization of waste. Drawbacks of these systems include a limitation on pressurized injection and the occurrence of seepage. A novel vertical well system that employed buried wells constructed below a lift of compacted waste was operated for 153 days at a landfill in Florida, USA. The system included 54 wells installed in six clusters of nine wells connected with a horizontally oriented manifold system. A cumulative volume of 8430 m3 of leachate was added intermittently into the well clusters over the duration of the project with no incidence of surface seeps. Achievable average flow rates ranged from 9.3 × 10−4 m3 s−1 to 14.2 ×
10−4 m3 s−1, which was similar to or greater than flow rates achieved in a previous study
using traditional vertical wells at the same landfill site.
SCS periodically prepares technical bulletins to highlight items of interest to our clients and friends. These are published on our website. This SCS Technical Bulletin addresses: