EPA Releases Final Rule For Landfill Gas Emissions

Silver Spring, Md. - It's been a long and arduous process, but the wait is over at last for the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) final rule governing solid waste landfill gas emissions.

The rule reportedly will reduce by 90,000 tons per year emissions of organic compounds and toxins such as benzene, vinyl chloride and chloroform.

"We have a responsibility to communities to make sure that they are as safe as they can be and that dangerous pollution is reduced," EPA Administrator Carol Browner said.

The rule requires large landfills that emit more than 50 megagrams of volatile organic compounds annually to drill collection wells and to route the gas to an energy recovery or combustion device. Only 4 percent of existing and 5 percent of new landfills reportedly are subject to the rule. This equals approximately 280 of the 7,000 landfills nationwide, Browner said.

The rule also states that surface methane must be monitored quarterly. If the methane present exceeds 500 parts per million, the gas collection system must be modified or expanded.

Ultimately, EPA estimates the rule will cost new and existing landfills approximately $778 million in one-time capital costs (about $2.2 million per landfill) and $93 million in annual costs (about $190,000 each).

EPA also expects residential customer costs to increase approximately $.20 to $.40 per month. Most landfills, however, are likely to use energy recovery systems, lessening the costs passed on to customers.

The rule can be accessed on EPA's electronic bulletin board system at (919) 541-5742 (filename: LANDFILL). For technical information, call Martha Smith at (919) 541-2421.

Agreements The City of Ontario, Calif. has agreed to deliver 140,000 tons per year of solid waste to the El Sorbante landfill operated by Western Waste Industries, Los Angeles. The city also is seeking permits to site a transfer station in Chino, Calif., by 1997.

Contract Rader Resource Recovery Inc., Memphis, Tenn., has contracted with BVZ Power Partners Inc., Overland Park, Kan., to design and supply a waste paper handling and wood waste system for BVZ's fluidized bed boiler. Rader also will design and supply a waste paper and wood waste staging/metering system for Foster Wheeler Pyropower Inc., San Diego.