- The EPA is releasing final changes to the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for new landfills in July which will affect air emissions management. This is in addition to other proposed changes for existing landfills.
- Landfills that began construction or modification after July 17, 2014 will now be required to install emissions controls after passing a threshold of 34 Mg/year of non-methane organic compounds. This is lower than the originally proposed threshold of 40 Mg/year.
- Some people in the landfill industry are concerned about the effects these changes will have on their business. Other potentially important changes involve surface emissions monitoring, removal of the requirement to remediate excesses for oxygen, and temperature at wellheads.
The original NSPS for municipal solid waste landfills were issued in 1996 and are being reviewed as part of President Obama's Climate Action Plan to reduce methane emissions. The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to review these rules every eight years; amendments were proposed in 2002 and 2006, but never finalized.
"Reducing methane emissions is a powerful way to take action on climate change," said Administrator Gina McCarthy in a statement when the original changes were proposed. "This latest step from the President’s methane strategy builds on our progress to date and takes steps to cut emissions from landfills through common-sense standards."
In 2013, landfills accounted for 18% of human-related methane emissions in the U.S. Under the NSPS changes, 127 new landfills would have to begin controlling their emissions by 2025. Landfills would have to install control systems within 30 months of reaching the emissions threshold. The EPA estimates these changes will cost companies $8.5 million to comply in 2025 and yield $78 million in climate-related benefits.
Across the nation, landfill gas-to-energy technology is on the rise. In California alone, DTE Biomass Energy announced the opening of a new facility at the Portero Hills Landfill and Ener-Core has been contracted to install a system at the closed Toyon Canyon Landfill.