How a landfill used proactive odor management to decrease odor nuisance complaints.
By Andres Quijano
A landfill on the East Coast of the U.S. has been in operation for about a decade, but in recent years urban development has reached the site’s boundaries. The landfill’s closest neighbors are now approximately half-mile away from the site. Complaints due to nuisances like odor have increased and although the operator has established proactive abatement measures, it has proven difficult to prevent issues from arising due to unexpected changes in the weather.
The county where the landfill is located operates a solid waste management division that manages 17 waste facilities including the landfill and 11 residential waste and recycling convenience centers. The county also oversees environmental and community health regulations.
The landfill site, which was originally built in a remote area and away from the communities, is now less than half a mile away from the nearest neighborhood due to growing population and residential rezoning. As a result, the facility is challenged with increasing pressure from the regulatory bodies and community members due to complaints about unpleasant odor emanating from the site.
As of November 2019, the landfill incurred approximately more than 800 odor complaints per month with little-to-no understanding of their origin. However, most of them were received through the local authority or media putting further pressure on already-disrupted operations. The Landfill Operator needed a centralized system to simplify complaint management workflow, address complaints, and create an effective communication channel with the community to avoid hefty penalties and negative publicity.
In 2020, the county contracted Envirosuite to get a comprehensive understanding of how their landfill causes odor nuisance complaints. Envirosuite worked with the team to install four eNoses odor monitors and implement EVS Omnis, Envirosuite’s comprehensive environmental intelligence platform.
Deployed Sensor Network for Proactive Odor Management
Although Omnis is a sensor agnostic platform and it can integrate most hardware suppliers on the market, Envirosuite offered a turn-key solution to the landfill. The team deployed 4 eNoses for real-time and unattended air quality monitoring along that feed data directly into an easy-to-understand dashboard (see Figure 1).
Situational Awareness of Odor Impact from Landfill Operations
The Envirosuite software enabled operators at the landfill site to visualize multiple environmental parameters, including odor concentration in and around the facility. The Omnis platform also enabled operators to get a bird’s eye view of the landfill and keep track of threshold exceedances at site boundaries (see Figure 2).
Operational Planning Based on Weather Changes
The landfill is also challenged with unforeseen changes in weather conditions that lead to odor complaints and unplanned stoppages, Omnis offers advanced hyperlocal weather forecasting paired with modeling capabilities to support a 72-hour risk forecast for any modeled parameter in order to manage odor impacts, heat stress, or other factors affecting operations (see Figure 3).
Validating Odor Complaints Submitted by the Community
Omnis adds further value to the project with its proprietary reverse trajectory modelling capabilities to identify the pathway that odor has traveled through. It allows operators to optimize resources and disregard invalid odor complaints directed at the facility (see Figure 4).
As a result of implementing the Envirosuite solution, the landfill was able to maintain situational awareness of its fugitive odor emissions to assist in the deployment of mitigation measures.
Operators at the site now use real-time dispersion modeling to identify the emission source contribution at any virtual alert point near the landfill. The modeling capabilities in Omnis enable the ground staff to trigger necessary alerts to steer operations (see Figure 5).
Additionally, the waste management operator was able to centralize the process of community odor concerns following the integration of Omnis platform, which automatically validates all incoming complaints through reverse trajectory analysis. The landfill site conducts further investigation into valid complaints directed at its site. However, the invalid grievances receive automated response with the evidence of a reverse trajectory, demonstrating that the facility is not responsible for the said odor nuisance complaint.
Decreasing Odor Nuisance Complaints from 800 Complaints Per Month to 60
Since the deployment of Envirosuite solution, the landfill site has been able to reduce odor complaints from more than 800 to 60 accounts on a monthly average over the period of two years (see Figure 6). However, more importantly, the operator has been able to establish a stronger relationship with the communities around and is constantly encouraging community members to report observed odor nuisances. | WA
Andres Quijano is currently the Solutions Design Engineer for the Americas at Envirosuite. He has more than 15 years of experience creating integrated hardware and software solutions that assist environmental professionals and site operators to optimize their management plans. His experience and passion for software has led him to design solutions that meet the most challenging environmental demands and constantly exceed customers’ expectations. Andres can be reached at [email protected].
Envirosuite is a global leader in environmental intelligence spanning more than 15 countries and is a trusted partner to the world’s leading industry operators in aviation, mining and industrial, waste, and water. Their proprietary software combines leading-edge science and innovative predictive technology with industry expertise to produce actionable insights, allowing customers to optimize their operations, whilst remaining compliant and managing their environmental impact. For more information, visit https://envirosuite.com/industries/waste-management.