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EPA Orders RI Landfill to Better Control Gases Emitted From Landfill

Release Date: 08/21/2000
Contact Information: Amy Miller, EPA Press Office (617-918-1042)

BOSTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced it has ordered the Central Landfill in Johnston, RI, one of the largest municipal landfills on the East Coast, to improve gas collection equipment to reduce the amount of gas leaking into the atmosphere and surrounding neighborhoods.
In an action signed Friday, EPA New England also ordered the owners and operators of the 150-acre landfill, which serves all of Rhode Island, to do more extensive landfill surface monitoring, a key part of making sure their gas collection system is working efficiently.

This order comes on the heels of years of complaints from residents of unpleasant odors. The order, which follows two other enforcement actions by EPA this year, will also require the owners and operators to pump the water out of several gas collection wells that are flooded and not working as they should, possibly causing excess landfill gas emissions from that section of the landfill.

EPA is also ordering the owners and operators to submit periodic reports to EPA so the agency can oversee their emissions control operations and ensure that the landfill gas and VOC emissions are controlled as efficiently as possible.

"This enforcement order is another crucial step in improving Central Landfill's operations to limit the facility's impact on neighboring residents," said Mindy S. Lubber, Regional Administrator for EPA New England. "Citizens in Johnston can rest assured that EPA will continue focusing enforcement attention on this facility until Central Landfill is an efficient, law-abiding operation."

The Central Landfill Action Committee, a citizen's advisory group formed in 1999, last month released its first report with proposed solutions to ongoing landfill odor problems. Among other things, the report suggested speeding up the processes for capping the landfill and for installing technology to better control landfill gas emissions. It also recommended adopting a "good neighbor policy" that incorporates into decisions the impact of landfill operations on neighbors.

Among the seven parties named in the order is the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation, a quasi-public corporation that operates the trash receiving activities of the landfill and owns some parts of the landfill gas collection and control system. Other parties named are the Central Gas Corporation, the LKD Central Limited Partnership, the LKD Energy Corporation, the Central Gas Limited Partnership, Ridgewood / Providence Power Partners LP, and the Ridgewood / Providence Power Corporation..

In January, EPA issued an administrative order to the owners and operators of Central Landfill requiring that they complete tests, monitoring and design plans required to address gas emissions from the landfill under the New Source Performance Standards of the Clean Air Act. In March, EPA issued a Notice of Violation to Central Landfill citing RIRRC for failure to apply for and obtain required permits prior to three expansions to the landfill in 1991, 1995, and 1998.