It is widely known that landfill gas emissions can present a variety of hazards. Gas monitoring is hence critical during all the stages of a landfill’s lifecycle – being regulated in Australia by each state’s Environment Protection Authority (EPA).
Most prominently, high volumes of combustible methane gas can create explosive hazards within a landfill environment, adjacent properties, as well as residential zones. Methane can migrate significant distances, increasing the risk of exposure or explosion across a wide area. If not attended to, this can result in serious injury, loss of life and extensive property damage.
These instruments allow operators to identify, predict and prevent hazards during the planning, operation and reclamation process of a landfill site. Other hazards and problems associated with landfill gas include: asphyxiation of humans and animals, stress to vegetation, cracking and disruption of the geomembrane in landfill cover, air quality degradation, emission of unpleasant odours, and global warming.
Finally, aside from hazard monitoring, landfill gas monitoring has several other significant applications. It can be used to locate leaks in landfill cover, identify the stages of a landfill’s lifecycle, and ascertain when a site is ready for reclamation. Methane from landfills is also harvested for energy, where gas monitoring can be applied to assist in the process.
Listed below are the EPA Landfill Environmental Guidelines for each state: Published landfill guidelines exist for most jurisdictions with the exception of Western Australia and ACT1.