Four steps to use hyperlocal weather forecasts for better odor management at landfills.
By Andres Quijano
Using hyperlocal weather forecasting to enhance odor control measures can not only improve environmental performance and lower impact on neighboring communities, but also result in cost savings. Landfills are not only a source of waste disposal, but they also emit foul odors that have a severe impact on the environment and neighboring communities. As populations grow, the demand for waste disposal increases, leading to the expansion of landfill sites. One of the main challenges associated with landfills is the odor caused by biological processes that occur during waste decomposition.
Managing landfill odor is crucial to maintaining public health and improving the quality of life in neighboring communities. Fortunately, hyperlocal weather forecasting and real-time monitoring networks offer potential solutions that can support odor control strategies at landfills. In this article, we explore how these solutions can help with odor management at landfill sites.
Step 1: Implement a Real-Time Odor Monitoring Network with Local Weather Data
Real-time odor monitoring networks can provide accurate and real-time data on the odor, temperature, wind speed and direction, and other relevant parameters on and around the landfill site. Monitoring networks can help landfill managers to evaluate whether their odor control strategies are working or not. Moreover, monitoring networks can alert landfill operators of any sudden problems that require an emergency response.
Landfill operators can use data collected to proactively work with regulatory stakeholders to report the issue and request assistance in addressing the situation. Communication with local authorities can help coordinate responses to reduce negative environmental impacts (see Figure 1).
Step 2: Analyze How Local Weather Affects Odor Dispersion Patterns
Odor complaints directed at landfills can spike in the days following heavy rainfall or severe wind gusts. Understanding the patterns of odor dispersion is crucial to the mitigation of odors. By using hyperlocal weather forecasting models, landfill managers can predict when and where odors are likely to cause a problem.
Using hyperlocal weather forecasting with data collected from monitoring networks to enhance odor control measures can not only improve environmental performance and improve the quality of life for neighboring communities, but it can also result in cost savings. Landfill operators can avoid emergency situations that often result from inadequate management of weather and odor-related issues. Correct responses to weather-related issues can reduce the potential cost associated with operational mismanagement, regulator penalties or fines, and legal disputes concerning odor impact (see Figure 2).
Step 3: Identify the Most Problematic Areas Across the Landfill
Hyperlocal weather forecasting can help landfill managers plan their odor mitigation strategies, such as adjusting their gas collection systems or initiating proactive odor control measures, like misting. Landfill operators may be aware that monitoring networks alone still require ongoing analysis to be proactive or risk being a nuisance. However, being able to rely on software to do that ongoing analysis hinders operational efficiency.
A Source Identification capability can provide a first insight of the most likely area of a known fugitive emission source at a landfill operation. Automated and rapid calculations link emission sources and measured effect almost instantly and enable action before a problem becomes serious. This information gives users context of their current emissions and where on their facility they should focus their mitigation energy. This can offer value for landfills that have known emission sources in their facilities and need to know which source is contributing to an emission problem.
Step 4: Engage Odor Control Measures at the Right Time
Landfill operators often use common odor control measures, such as misting, masking, and adsorption to mitigate odors. These measures can be enhanced by access to a weather forecasting and monitoring network. For instance, misting systems can be triggered when weather forecasting models predict adverse weather conditions that could cause odors to spread.
By integrating with weather forecasting models, the misting system can respond to incoming fronts of high moisture, isobaric differences, or wind direction changes that would otherwise cause air quality problems.
Odor is still a challenge for operators today despite a wide range of abatement options. It is critical to know the precise time to engage odor control measures or how external factors like the weather might determine future impact. Lack of knowledge of these areas can lead to impacts on nearby communities which creates costly investigations and disruptions from lawsuits and fines. This results in poor publicity for site operations in the media and a damaged reputation.
Hyperlocal weather forecasting and real-time monitoring networks can play an essential role in supporting odor control strategies at landfill sites. By understanding weather patterns and how they can impact odor dispersion, landfill operators can integrate with their odor control measures to ensure that they are optimized for reducing the negative impact of landfill sites on public health and neighboring communities. | 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.
Meet and chat with Andres at booth #923 at SWANA’s WASTECON® 2023 in Boston, MA!