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West Hawaii Sanitary Landfill gas collection system complete


Waste Management of Hawaii, Inc., which operates the West Hawaii Sanitary Landfill for the County of Hawaii, has completed the installation of a gas collection and control system at the landfill in Puuanahulu.

The gas management system, which began operation earlier this month, uses a series of wells located throughout the landfill to collect gas that is naturally produced by the decomposition of trash.

The gas is composed primarily of methane and carbon dioxide (CO2) and is burned off in a controlled manner through a continuous flare, which eliminates landfill gas odors and reduces the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Air Act requires landfills that reach a certain minimum capacity of received waste to install an active gas collection and recovery system.

Waste Management performed testing at the landfill and notified the EPA of the findings in March 2011. Those findings showed that a gas recovery system was needed to continue compliance with the Clean Air Act.

The EPA and Waste Management determined that the system needed to be installed and operational by Dec. 10, 2013 to comply with the Clean Air Act rules.

“The new gas collection and management system ensures that the West Hawaii Sanitary Landfill complies with the federal Clean Air Act and helps protect our island environment by minimizing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Michael Kaha, district manager, Waste Management of Hawaii.

Earlier this year, the Hawaii County Council appropriated $4 million in general obligation bonds for the construction and maintenance of the system. The state Department of Health issued a permit to allow the gas collection and flare system to operate.

Because the flare is visible from surrounding roads, Waste Management notified the county Fire Department about the system start-up to ease potential concerns by residents about the flare.

“It may take a little time for West Hawaii residents to get used to the sight of the flare burning 24 hours a day, seven days a week, especially at night, but the continuous flare means the system is doing what it’s designed to do,” Kaha said.

Waste Management, based in Houston, Texas, is the leading provider of comprehensive waste management services in North America. Its subsidiaries provide collection, transfer, recycling and resource recovery, and disposal services.

It is the largest residential recycler and also a leading developer, operator and owner of waste-to-energy and landfill-gas-to-energy facilities in the United States.

Customers include residential, commercial, industrial and municipal customers throughout North America.

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