Landfills In Washington And Oregon Leaked ‘Explosive’ Levels Of Methane

"EPA inspection reports find methane exceedances are more common than operators say."

"Landfills in Oregon and Washington repeatedly exceeded federal standards for methane emissions last year, according to documents obtained by an environmental group.

Although the Clean Air Act requires that large landfills operators keep methane concentrations below 500 parts per million, Environmental Protection Agency inspection reports from May and June 2022 show that this threshold was exceeded in dozens of readings taken at four landfills in Oregon and Washington. At one landfill near Corvallis, Oregon, there were so many exceedances that an inspector ran out of flags to mark them with. At another, the inspector’s measuring instruments maxed out, indicating what he described as “explosive” concentrations of methane.

Katherine Blauvelt, circular economy campaign director for the environmental group Industrious Labs, which obtained the documents through public records requests, said the reports highlight the need for better monitoring and mitigation of landfill methane emissions nationwide. These kinds of methane leaks are likely happening across the country, she said, much more frequently than the public knows, and regulators aren’t using the best tools to stop them."

Joseph Winters reports for Grist October 26, 2023.

Source: Grist, 10/27/2023