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.
Learn more about Landfill Services here.
The SWANA Keystone Chapter has elected Tom Lock of SCS Engineers as Secretary of the Chapter. Tom assumed his new position following the Board of Director’s meeting on September 6, 2018.
Tom continues to provide leadership and representation for the waste management industry and in the use of renewable energy resources such as landfill gas and solar in the region. In his new position, he is responsible for keeping full minutes of all proceedings of the Chapter, its members, directors, and committees, and maintaining Chapter records. Tom will issue notices required by law and SWANA bylaws, prepare and submit required annual, periodic or special reports, and shall perform other duties as requested by the Board of Directors. He is a SWANA member of over 25 years and regularly participates in regional and national conferences.
Tom, a Project Manager for SCS Engineers, has three decades of experience in environmental field services and project management, with an emphasis on waste industry operations and maintenance. He manages the SCS Engineers Harrisburg office and coordinates with the firm’s offices and operations nationwide. Lock’s expertise is in Operations, Maintenance, and Monitoring (OM&M) of environmental control systems. His work involves OM&M of renewable energy resources such as landfill gas using a sophisticated collection, monitoring, and reporting system SCSeTools®.
Our congratulations to Tom and the other newly elected officers.
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/
Over years of working on operations and maintenance of landfill gas collection and control systems and leachate management systems, SCS found that too many times data is collected and no one has the time to review and analyze it for improved decision-making.
As an industry-wide issue, SCS developed systems to streamline the process using technology and our field expertise to help perform routine and sometimes complex data analysis and to automatically push reports and alerts to operators, engineers, and project managers.
The improvements are dramatic; by removing human error from reviewing pages of data we now focus our time and energy on what really matters, using what the data tells us to make informed decisions. Let’s put the technology into the context of everyday operations – identify, troubleshoot, and solve landfill gas and leachate challenges.
This SCS paper illustrates several sites using integrated systems for data collection and analysis and how they are used to identify, troubleshoot, and solve real problems in an effective and efficient manner.
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About the Authors:
David P. Hostetter, PE, Denver, Pennsylvania
Phil Carrillo, Huntington Beach, California
Darrin D. Dillah, Ph.D., PE, BCEE, Reston, Virginia
SCSeTools® gives you the ability to instantly map air leaks, vacuum distribution, wells that are “over pulling” and wells that are underutilized – valuable tools for every wellfield technician to maximize system performance beyond simple compliance tracking and reactive wellhead tuning.
As a field technician, you walk a fine line – tuning to a threshold, pulling as hard as you can, as safe as you can. When important data factors start to wander you need to troubleshoot quickly to keep collecting as much as gas as possible without over compensating and adjusting wellheads multiple times. SCSeTools® makes troubleshooting faster and more efficient by turning your data into maps identifying important conditions in the field and the wellheads that need tuning. Field technicians know how to balance the wellfield without killing bacteria and without diluting the gas.
A map of your field with your specific tuning range quickly shows data that are typically missed in reams of data. SCSeTools alerts you to these indicators using a map of each wellhead in the wellfield. Where you formerly needed months for these changes to become apparent, SCSeTools tells you at the touch of a button when a change began occurring and which wellheads are impacted. As a technician you know what you need to tune and which wellheads need your attention.
Using SCSeTools pick any parameter that the GEM collects and create custom ranges or use specified guidelines to quickly identify trends throughout the landfill. Tuning ranges can be adjusted to specific conditions found at individual landfills. Smooth a saw tooth collection pattern and learn from your data for maximum vacuum and maximum collection without risk.
SCS Engineers is proud to announce the firm is ranked No. 26 in the 2016 Top 100 Waste and Recycling Firms list in 2016.
The Waste360 Top 100 ranks the largest waste and recycling firms in North America based on 2015 revenues. The Top 100 consists of firms that have collection fleets, own or operate processing or disposal sites, or like SCS Engineers are environmental consultants, engineers, and contractors involved in the business of solid waste and recycling systems and facilities.
SCS Engineers continues to grow, serving public and private clients across the nation and around the world. The firm’s core capabilities in solid and hazardous waste management, energy, remediation and environmental compliance bring value in a growing number of industries. SCS teams environmental engineers and consultants with scientists and business professionals to help municipalities and firms meet their environmental and business goals on time and on budget. SCS continues to bring value with supportive field services, innovations, and new technology to maintain sustainable solutions.
“Our clients enable SCS to build, grow, and sustain an engineering firm dedicated to solving environmental challenges,” said Jim Walsh, President and CEO of SCS. “We sincerely thank our friends, colleagues and, in particular, our clients for helping us achieve a highly regarded ranking each year.”
Firms are ranked in terms of revenue by Engineering News-Record magazine (ENR), as reported in the May 2, 2016, issue of the “ENR Top 500 Design Firms Sourcebook.” SCS has made the Top 500 list since its publication in 2002 and has ranked in the top 100 of that list since 2008.
When sorted by firm type, SCS Engineers is ranked the second largest environmental engineering firm (ENV) and is ranked in the “Top 20 Sewerage and Solid Waste” service firms in the nation. SCS has made this top 20 list since 2002.
Later in the year, ENR will publish additional resources and lists, including the “Top 200 Environmental Firms” issue, typically published in the month of August.
Long story short, an escapee from San Quentin and any uncontrolled methane air molecule may be more similar than we may presume. In fact, a common LDAR practice is to use an infrared imaging camera; similar to the camera often used in search of fugitive criminals.
On a serious note, fugitive emissions are something that both industry and regulators have been focused on for decades, and the past and present efforts made to limit them are no less than remarkable.
Specific to Onshore Oil and Gas Exploration & Production, the Federal Regulations applicable to fugitive emissions are fairly young. Finalized in 2012, NSPS OOOO is no longer a toddler and is in the middle of growing into NSPS OOOOa (Public Comment Deadline March 11, 2016). On a national scale, NSPS OOOOa will expand fugitive emission monitoring and control requirements (VOC’s and methane) to several facility types associated with the industry and is expected to be finalized before the close of 2016.
In California, fugitive emissions from Onshore Oil and Gas Exploration & Production have been regulated for a long time. In fact, the O&G industry in Santa Barbara County has dealt with fugitive emission requirements since 1979. Since then SCS Engineers has been assisting with fugitive emission monitoring for our valued clients. Today, SCS Engineers provides the Oil and Gas Exploration and Production industry with efficient and effective LDAR services.
So fear not, SCS Engineers is ready to supply the knowledge and skill set you need to stay compliant, maintain your operations, and respect your bottom line. Remember, unless the doors are closed, pumps are turned off, and equipment is flushed and plugged; fugitive emissions requirements and LDAR will likely still apply.
Applicability: Determining Federal vs. State oversight is the first step. Non-Major Source Oil and Gas Production facilities are either subject to NSPS OOOO (soon to be OOOOa) or a related State specific rule (i.e. Colorado Regulation 7). Once oversight is determined, then there may still be exemptions for your facility (i.e. facility constructed before August 23, 2011). And finally, once regulatory oversight is confirmed and you determine that LDAR is required for your facility, then the last step is to figure out which equipment is applicable (i.e. VOC content > 10% by weight). Basically, an applicability determination can be daunting.
Equipment: EPA’s Method 21 is historically and currently referenced in all LDAR regulations. Method 21 requires an instrument such as the Flame Ionization Detector (FID) or Photo Ionization Detector (PID). More recently the Optical Gas Imaging (OGI) Camera has been included in LDAR regulations and utilized in LDAR programs. Presently, there are several instrument technologies that exist and are in the works, but not yet mainstream in Oil and Gas sector. Ultimately, if you were to find yourself conducting LDAR monitoring at your oil and gas facility tomorrow per an established regulation, you would most likely need to use an FID or OGI.
Recordkeeping: Personally, I like the simplicity of using paper forms for field notes; however, the old-fashioned way comes with risk. The up-front and ongoing data involved with an LDAR program is too much for maintaining a paper to computer process, regardless of how organized you think you are. Therefore, a computer database platform is recommended and necessary for managing your LDAR recordkeeping. Beyond just recordkeeping, a database platform can organize schedules, alerts, generate reports, extract trends, and many other applications to help keep your LDAR program compliant. One such platform worth considering is SCSeTools™. This cloud-based software can provide the database capabilities used on the desktop, but almost more importantly, provides mobile data input capabilities with the SCS MobileTools™ application fit for Android and IOS systems. Keep the fugitives from escaping, and document containment for the authorities!
About Lucas Marsalek: Lucas has been an Environmental Consultant for over 8 years; he applies his expertise as a leader for oil and gas production environmental and regulatory compliance projects. Marsalek has a B.S. in Forestry and Natural Resource Management from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA.
Learn more on the SCS service pages and read SCS project case studies from across the nation to help fine tune your program.
Outside links to the EPA proposed rulemaking website:
Technical bulletins provide salient information in a condensed format. These summaries are useful to understand and start to plan for potential impacts to your business. Both bulletins posted today include deadlines and additional resources with contact information to help answer your questions. The two bulletins posted today are as follows:
Clicking the title of each Technical Bulletin will take you to the full text. Each Bulletin may be shared, emailed, or printed.
About Pat Sullivan:
Pat Sullivan, BCES, CPP, REPA, is a Senior Vice President of SCS Engineers and our National Expert on the Landfill Clean Air Act and the New Source Performance Standard (NSPS). Mr. Sullivan has over 25 years of environmental engineering experience, specializing in solid and hazardous waste-related issues.
Click on Pat’s name to see his full qualifications and experience.
Denver, PA. – SCS Engineers is opening a new office in Denver, Pennsylvania. The professional engineering staff currently serving clients in Reading will be joined by additional environmental consulting staff moving to the larger office space on November 1, 2015. The new office is located at:
22 Denver Road, Suite E
Denver, PA 17517
Denise Wessels, P.E., and SCS Project Manager stated, “We are strengthening our commitment to the Commonwealth, and the new location enables us to broaden our environmental services in the region, including SCSeTools®.”
SCS provides quality environmental consulting and construction services to municipal and private sector clients, and has recently expanded SCSeTools®, a platform for organizing big data collected at landfills. The tools collect data, and then organize the data into analyses, graphs, and maps that allow landfill owners and operators to predict, assess, and plan the operation and maintenance of their facilities. This insight helps with decision-making for operational excellence and helps to improve the bottom line.