On Tuesday, October 17th, Steve Poggi, Director of Disposal Operations for Waste Management, attended the City Council Workshop to respond to the increase in odor complaints over the past several months.
According to Poggi, Waste Management is aware of the odor complaints and has taken immediate and aggressive action to correct the causes. As noted, because collection pipes that take on water may have reduced capacity to manage landfill gas, much of the focus has been on installing new collection pipes and wells.
Landfill gas is naturally produced when solid waste decomposes within a landfill. At the Turnkey site, gas is collected via a network of underground pipes located within the waste disposal area. The landfill gas collection system includes gas collection wells, lateral and header pipes, gas condensate removal units, control valves, and blower units for vacuum application. The collected gas is directed to gas-to-electric power plants and flares where it is safely burned off. Turnkey processes and combusts the landfill gas to create enough renewable energy to power approximately 7,000 homes and provide fuel to run the UNH Campus in Durham NH.
Due to the unusually high levels of rainfall during 2023 (rainfall measured on site was 47.6″ from Jan. – Sept. 2023), the facility’s gas collection system has occasionally been compromised. Excessive amounts of rainfall can, ‘flood out’ the gas collection pipes, causing landfill gas to leave the site outside of the closed collection system. This can cause temporary odor issues on site and in the surrounding area.
To date, Waste Management has completed the following improvements to the Landfill Gas Collection and Control System.
- Installed approximately 5,510 linear feet of vacuum pipes to increase vacuum to extraction wells.
- Installed approximately 6,660 linear feet of horizontal gas collectors.
- Drilled and connected 49 new and replacement extraction wells to vacuum pipes to withdraw gas.
- Installed approximately 3.8 acres of temporary membrane cap with under cap gas collection to improve gas collection.
- Constructed new vacuum pipes to selected gas wells to increase collection.
- Added flow controls to a flare (#5) to increase capability and operating time.
- Rebuilt gas blower to send a more consistent flow of gas to UNH.
- Daily tuning of gas well system has improved gas quality to control devices.
Scheduled for completion over the next two months:
- Large (3,300 ft) piping system upgrade starting October to improve vacuum to selected gas wells.
- Install approximately 7.2 acres of additional temporary membrane cap to improve collection.
- Complete construction of 7.4 acres of final cap with gas collection controls to increase gas capture.
- Installing an additional approximately 500 feet of additional horizontal gas collection pipes.
- Installing dewatering pumps to draw down liquid and improve gas collection.
Waste Management has also increased its efforts to engage with neighbors as these site improvements have been made. The Turnkey facility has a dedicated phone line for area residents to call when they experience an odor they believe is coming from the facility.
Residents are encouraged to call 855-514-5157 once an odor has been detected and provide specific details about the time, location, and nature of their observations. This is a dedicated phone line, answered by a third party, which allows Waste Management to investigate, track, and quickly respond to any odor complaints.