MODG to start collecting methane from landfill

Potential future uses include power-generation

By Helen Murphy    

GUYSBOROUGH – The time is right for the Municipality of the District of Guysborough to start collecting methane gas from its regional landfill site, says CAO Barry Carroll. At its regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, June 20, council awarded a tender to Zutphen Contractors Inc. in the amount of $4,397,090 for a cell cap and landfill gas collection project at MODG's waste management facility.

The project includes putting a final cap on cells two and three, and a landfill gas collection system on cells one to four.

No methane will be stored at the site; the gas-collecting work includes installing a flare tower. This will allow MODG to measure the amount of methane reaching the flare, and consider options for the future use of methane at the site.

Down the road, "power generation will be one of the first things we look at," Gary Cleary, director of waste management, told The Journal during an interview Tuesday.

Methane gas could be used to help meet the energy needs of the site, including energy to evaporate leachate collected there, said Cleary. "There are multiple potential uses for that gas once it's collected."

Carroll said it makes sense to do this work now because the site is nearing the point where it will have enough waste there to warrant doing something with the methane. "Council is being a little proactive here and getting ahead of it." With the capping of two cells needed at this time, it made financial sense to do the additional work for methane collection now as well, he said.

Collection pipes will be added to the top of each cell when it is capped. While a cell is being used, pipes will collect methane from the bottom only.

Having the methane flared off at this early stage "deals with any odors and greenhouse gases," said Cleary. The flare, 12-inches in diameter and 36ft high, has a total enclosure at the top -- not an open flare such as seen at the Sable Offshore Energy site in Goldboro.

Cleary said two landfills in N.B. are currently generating power from methane collected from their cells. "We have been watching very closely what's happening at those two sites," he said.

The work awarded for this phase is expected to take four to five months to complete.

At last week's meeting, council also awarded funding to 15 community projects from its Green Fund.

In other news, council moved to support an initiative by Eastern Counties Regional Library to pilot an open library program in Guysborough. This will be the only library in the region launching the new trial program, in which the library would be accessible with key-card access after hours and on weekends, at times when it is not normally staffed.