Waste Management’s plan to capture the methane gas emitted from its Lower Bucks landfills and convert it into enough usable natural gas to serve 65,000 homes a year is moving full steam ahead.
Falls Township supervisors granted preliminary and final approval for the $90 million project at their meeting Monday evening.
Waste Management will build two 20,000 square foot renewable natural gas plants at the company’s 47-acre Fairless Landfill complex.
“We’re very proud of this one and we think the township could be proud of it,” said Waste Management attorney Michael Meginniss.
The natural gas facility “will convert biogas collected from the landfill into pipeline-grade gas for injection into the nearby commercial gas distribution system,” said Township spokeswoman Theresa Katalinas. The project is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 170,000 tons.
The facility is expected to be operational by 2024 and would significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create 40 to 50 jobs during construction and about 10 permanent jobs once in production, according to the township.
Waste management project manager Eric Oehling said the project has taken years to prepare and will become the company’s sixth natural gas facility. Once the landfill gas is turned into natural gas, it can be used for the company’s fleet of natural gas-powered vehicles or put into the commercial gas distribution network to supply homes and businesses with fuel. .
There are three landfills at the Falls site.
Biogas emissions from the Fairless and Grows North landfills will be sent to the natural gas facility. Emissions from the original Grows landfill will continue to be flared by low emission flares as they have not been used for years and produce low emissions. Emissions from Waste Management’s nearby Tullytown landfill are used to generate electricity and are flared using low-emission flares.
After:Waste Management wants to build $90M renewable natural gas facility near Falls landfills
“Once a landfill is capped (GROWS, GROWS-North, and Tullytown are all capped), landfill gas production continues for a period of time. In fact, landfills are producing their best gas (methane content the higher) after capping and once the mass inside the landfill has reached an anaerobic or oxygen-free state.
“Over time, a covered landfill reaches the peak of its production of methane-rich gas, and then that production begins to decline. Given enough time, a landfill will no longer produce gas or waste water and will become what the industry calls it an “inert mass,” said company spokesman John Hambrose in an earlier email about the project.
Oehling said the natural gas plant will have strong odor controls in place.
“We want to capture all the methane for the plant,” Oehling said. “Methane is money for us.”