Field Procedures Handbook for the Operation of Landfill Biogas Systems

The landfill biogas industry is seeing a rise in the number of collection and treatment systems being installed worldwide. In part, these installations are due to the need to control subsurface methane migration into nearby buildings, air emissions and greenhouse gases, and odors. In addition, such systems are built to capture the energy benefits from landfill biogas. Some 1,100 such energy systems are in place in approximately 40 countries (H. Willumsen, 2003).

Coupled with this rise in landfill biogas systems comes the need for proper operations and maintenance, and the prevention of accidents. As more personnel are hired to operate active landfill biogas systems, there remains an industry concern to make sure field personnel and managers receive regular training.

In particular, such training is important where the use of sanitary landfills is on the increase. The conversion from old dump sites to lined, controlled landfills is resulting in more methane gas generation and the need for immediate collection and control. This is occurring in countries that have recently joined the European Union (EU), where the waste management programs are expected to be improved during the intermediate term.

To address this need for proper start-up and operation of landfill biogas systems, the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA), Working Group on Sanitary Landfill, was awarded a grant from the European Union (EU) to develop a practical handbook covering basic field procedures and practices. The objective is to provide EU landfill managers, site operators, and field technicians with a practical reference guide that can be used on a daily basis and contribute toward efficient, safe landfill biogas operations. This handbook is not intended to replace site-specific operation and maintenance manuals. Landfill personnel should rely on such manuals and related information sources to address issues and needs appropriate to their particular facility.