Board of County Commissioners Approves Landfill Monitoring Equipment
Last summer, Orange County began receiving complaints regarding an increase in unpleasant odors near the Orange County Landfill on Young Pine Road. Since that time, Orange County Utilities has been working diligently to address the concern. Part of the work includes monitoring hydrogen sulfide gas (H2S), which is the primary source of the odors. The H2S gas has a “rotten egg” smell that is produced when bacteria breaks down waste, especially drywall.
In an effort to assure public safety, the County is working to improve our existing data collection program relating to the presence of the gas.
On May 10, the Board of County Commissioners approved the purchase of H2S monitoring systems, including all software, radios, filters and anemometers. The new monitoring equipment will provide continuous records of H2S levels at and around the landfill, allowing the County to more accurately assess and respond to resident concerns.
These continuous monitors will supplement a monitoring program that began with informal sampling in August. In February of this year, routine monitoring protocols were established and sampling is now performed weekly at 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. – the times when residents say the odors are most prominent.
The first of the new BCC-approved monitoring systems will be operable by June, with data collected 24 hours per day/7 days per week. Utilities personnel will evaluate the data collected and use the information to evaluate the effectiveness of the actions that are being taken to mitigate the odors.
In addition to boosting its monitoring capabilities, Orange County is also expanding the collection system for H2S gas that is produced within the landfill. According to Jamie Floer, spokeswoman for Orange County Utilities, residents near the landfill may detect stronger odors temporarily through May 23 as the county installs additional gas collection wells designed to tamp down odors. The new gas wells are an important part of reducing odors around the landfill, however, buried gases could escape during the installation process resulting in a temporary period of more noticeable odors.