While the future of Butler County Landfill’s expansion plans are decided in court, the facility’s owner, Waste Connections, has been making changing its process to turn one of the landfill’s byproducts – landfill gas – into a valuable resource.
A landfill is one of those places you don’t visit if you don’t have to, but those driving past on County Road R and County Road 35 have seen a new truck entrance open up about a quarter mile south of the old entrance. At the old gate, heavy equipment can be seen working at the site of a new gas scrubbing plant.
So what’s going on?
Ten years after the landfill worked with Timberline Energy LLC and David City officials to bring cleaned up landfill gas – methane – through a pipeline to be used as fuel at Henningsen Foods, Waste Connections is making changes to the process.
Kelly Danielson, district manager for Waste Connections, answered some questions about the developments.
Q: Who is making all the changes for Waste Connections?
A: The developer and owner have not changed as Aria Energy is the parent to Timberline Energy LLC. Aria Energy has been turning landfill gas into renewable energy for over 30 years and owns and operates 44 projects across the US.
Q: Describe how the gas operation is changing.
A: The contract with Henningsen was completed in September 2017, giving Timberline the opportunity to upgrade the project in partnership with Waste Connections, Black Hills Energy and Constellation Energy. Timberline Energy is investing in new clean-up equipment that will purify the landfill gas into natural gas. This is called Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) because it comes from a renewable source instead of fossil fuel.
The RNG can be delivered into natural gas pipelines and will be equal to the quality of other pipeline gas.
Timberline has contracts to deliver the RNG from the Butler County Landfill into the vehicle fuel market. That means the RNG will be used as fuel for over-the-road cars and trucks and will be dispensed in the Midwest.
Q: How do you describe the quantity of gas that will be generated, and how much pollution will be prevented?
A: The new Butler County Landfill project will process approximately 450 standard cubic feet per minute of methane gas. This means the project will capture and destroy the equivalent of nearly 80,000 metric ton of greenhouse gas (in the form of Carbon Dioxide equivalent).
The project’s reduction in greenhouse gases is equivalent to planting over 2 million trees. Another way to look at it is to say that the plant is offsetting the consumption of 185,217 barrels of oil consumed or offsetting the consumption of over 9 million gallons of gasoline consumed.
Q: What’s happening next to the old gate?
A: The landfill is currently constructing a new landfill disposal cell. The new cell is located where the previous entrance road came into the landfill. As a result a new access road had to be built. The new entrance road is located in the southwest corner of the property about a quarter-mile south of the old entrance.