A landfill gas extraction plant is now operating at the Englands Road Resource Recovery Park.
A landfill gas extraction plant is now operating at the Englands Road Resource Recovery Park. Rob Wright

Learning to control landfill gas

SMELLY gas is attracting council staff from Taree to Tweed Heads to Coffs Harbour today.

Council landfill managers from across northern NSW will be learning how to better manage the pongy and potentially dangerous landfill gas produced by garbage.

They will be attending a landfill gas training course in Coffs Harbour, hosted by the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW).

Among them will be Coffs Harbour City Council staff members Chris Foley and Allan Burns.

Helen Mulligan, DECCW Unit Head Waste Compliance in Coffs Harbour, said landfill gas was a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions in Australia and if not managed correctly could cause odours, health hazards and even explosion and fire risks.

“The training will help councils to manage landfill gas in their local government areas,” Ms Mulligan said.

“There has been widespread support for this type of training, which aims to build capacity within councils and provide them with additional tools to enhance the management of landfill gas across the Mid North and North Coasts.

“The course will cover all aspects of landfill gas management from gas generation and potential hazards and risks, through to management and monitoring techniques.”

Landfill gas is produced as waste decomposes within landfills.

The gas consists of methane, carbon dioxide and a range of other compounds including some odorous gases like hydrogen sulphide, otherwise known as rotten egg gas.

DECCW has engaged GHD Pty Ltd to present tomorrow’s course, which is being run at the Novotel Pacific Bay Resort.

Coffs Harbour now has a landfill gas extraction and flare system, constructed last year by AGL.

The system is a first of its kind on the Mid North Coast.

Coffs Harbour City Council’s manager of strategy and sustainability, Jeff Green, said the $950,000 plant, which the council began commissioning in December, was extracting a mix of landfill gases, including carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide, but mainly methane.

Mr Green said the plant was extracting 235,000 cubic metres of landfill gas per month, more than 56 per cent of it methane.

“That equates to 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide abatement per year, which is a very significant reduction,” Mr Green said.

“Methane is 21 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, which makes this plant by far the biggest council activity to date in greenhouse gas abatement – much more effective than Rigby House.”

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