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Uncontrolled methane emissions from a MSW landfill surface: Influence of landfill features and side slopes

  • Autori: DI TRAPANI, D.; Di Bella, G.; Viviani, G.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2013
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
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Sanitary landfills for Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) disposal have been identified as one of the most important anthropogenic sources of methane (CH4) emissions; in order to minimize its negative effects on the environment, landfill gas (LFG) recovery is a suitable tool to control CH4 emissions from a landfill site; further, the measurement of CH4 emissions can represent a good way to evaluate the effectiveness of LFG recovering systems. In general, LFG will escape through any faults in the landfill capping or in the LFG collection system. Indeed, some areas of the capping can be more permeable than others (e.g. portions of a side slope), especially when considering a temporarily capped zone (covered area that is not expected to receive any further waste for a period of at least 3 months, but for engineering reasons does not have a permanent cap yet). These areas, which are characterized by abnormal emissions, are usually defined as ‘‘features’’: in particular, a feature is a small, discrete area or an installation where CH4 emissions significantly differ from the surrounding zones. In the present study, the influence that specific features have on CH4 emissions has been investigated, based on direct measurements carried out in different seasons by means of a flux chamber to the case study of Palermo (IT) landfill (Bellolampo). The results showed that the flux chamber method is reliable and easy to perform, and the contoured flux maps, obtained by processing the measured data were found to be a suitable tool for identifying areas with abnormal (high) emissions. Further, it was found that a relationship between methane emission rates and landfill side slope can be established. Concerning the influence of the temporary HDPE cover system on CH4 recovery efficiency, it contributed to a significant decrease of the free surface area available for uncontrolled emissions; this aspect, coupled to the increase of the CH4 volumes collected by the LFG recovery system, led to a significant increase of the recovery efficiency.