American landfill is undoubtedly one of the most prominent contributors to climate change and it is already getting attention from the U.S. EPA. A revised set of guidelines have been released by the agency on July, 2016 and purpose is to push owners of landfill to reduce amount of methane being emitted. All large landfills are known to emit landfill gas, which is a potent mix of a number of toxic gases, methane and carbon dioxide.
The landfills generate up to 20% of all the methane being emitted in the country. The new emission threshold being introduced by the guideline will now hold landfill owners accountable to set their own mechanisms to ensure prevention of harmful gases from being emitted into the atmosphere. Some however fear that these guidelines may end up putting smaller landfills out of the business; some individuals have however applauded the move.
Senior vice president at SCS Engineers, Pat Sullivan stated that: “We thought that the EPA costs were low, to be honest. We didn’t think they did a good job of recognizing [the differences in cost] when you’re looking at smaller landfills”
A new threshold has been introduced buy the emission guidelines and it will hold landfill owners accountable for cleaning their emissions. Current threshold for Non-Methane Organic Compound (NMOCs) is 34 megagrams per year. It was initially at 50 megagrams before it was reduced. This will reduce emission by around 290,000 metric tons of methane per year by year 2025, according to EPA. This is equivalent to 7.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.
By 2025, the new guideline is expected to have annualized net cost of $54,.1 million. This is obtained by calculating cost of monitoring, operation and setup. This is according to estimate released by EPA. The big landfills and the smaller ones will surely be affected differently by this guideline.