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Landfill Odor Control

Organic material like food waste produces a great deal of gas as it decomposes, which can lead to odors. Sulfides and ammonia are the most common sources of odor in landfill gas. ACUA strives to resolve odor issues promptly to prevent discomfort to members of the community. The Authority is committed to keeping landfill odors to a minimum and has many systems and procedures in place to capture and regulate the gases emitted from the landfill. 

How We Control Landfill Odors

The landfill at the Atlantic County Utilities Authority (ACUA) has operated at its existing location since 1991. Today, it covers more than 100 acres and is 145 feet high above sea level. The landfill design is a sophisticated containment structure that is engineered with multiple layers and systems to prevent the possibility of contact with groundwater. The landfill accepts municipal solid waste in addition to non-hazardous commercial and industrial waste. 
Temporary Landfill Cap
ACUA installed a temporary cap that spans more than 30 acres of the landfill’s side slopes in September 2015. The cap prevents gas from escaping the sides of the landfill and directs it toward the existing gas collection systems. It also keeps water from infiltrating the landfill, which reduces the production of gas and prevents the formation of leachate – all actions that will decrease odors. The project cost approximately $2 million.
Neutralene Vapor System Installation

In early 2021, ACUA began an Environmental Improvement Pilot Test (EIPT) to gauge the effectiveness of a new tool designed to minimize landfill odor. This permit allows a Neutralene vapor misting system to operate between 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. each day, on the current active landfill cell. Tall misters are powered by an electric compressor and disperse a mixture of water and Neutralene in the form of short, intermittent bursts.

Neutralene does not contain hazardous air pollutants or air toxics.  It is a scentless substance used at other landfills, that does not mask odors, but absorbs and eliminates odor molecules.  Ingredients found in Neutralene are also used in products such as Armor All Cleaner, Vicks VapoRub, and Air Wick Scented Candles.

Gas Wells
ACUA has 120 gas collection wells in operation and installs new wells as needed to increase gas collection efficiency and reduce odorous gases from escaping the landfill. 
Hydrogen Sulfide Treatment System
Six large metal tanks contain an iron-infused wood chip medium that binds to and removes sulfur gas, reducing landfill gas odor. The treatment system was installed in 2017.
Landfill Gas Flare

Excess gas is collected and safely destroyed in this high temperature flare. 

The enclosed flare was installed at the landfill in January 2017 and cost approximately $440,000.

Monitoring

ACUA staff and third-party consultants continually monitor conditions at the landfill to meet and when possible, exceed state and federal environmental requirements. Some of these monitoring tasks include: 

 • Inspecting the landfill cover daily  
 • Inspecting and monitoring surface emissions quarterly  
 • Reviewing the efficiency and function of gas and leachate collection systems  
 • Continually monitoring and analyzing weather data and conditions that impact gas production  
 • Independently monitoring onsite and offsite odors to identify odor sources 

Landfill Gas to Energy Plant
When organic materials break down in the landfill they produce a variety of gases like carbon dioxide and methane. Methane, which comprises roughly 60 percent of the landfill gas, is also a powerful source of energy.

ACUA previously captured landfill gas and turned it into energy onsite which powered the entire Environmental Park with excess energy provided to the grid where it can be used to power area homes and businesses. The project saved ratepayers more than $8.5 million while in operation and prevented more than 25,602 metric tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.

ACUA and South Jersey Industries will partner on a new project that will convert landfill gas into pipeline-quality renewable natural gas. The project will remove hydrogen sulfide and other impurities from the landfill gas then feed it into the natural gas distribution network that supplies area homes, businesses, and compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicle fueling stations. Construction is expected to begin in Summer 2023.