Category Archives: Environmental Protection Agency

Republic fined $406,000

Under a consent agreement and final order with the EPA, the former owner and operator of Arbor Hills Landfill’s gas collection and control system must pay a fine of $406,000 for failing to comply with the Clean Air Act.

View the consent agreement & final order

Until Feb. 2, 2017 BFI Waste Systems of North America  owned and operated the gas collection and control system at Arbor Hills Landfill. Republic Services is BFI’s parent company. BFI waived its right to a hearing but has not admitted any wrongdoing.

Alleged violations

1. Failure to install an active collection system that could withstand overburden, address water in the Landfill, and prevent gas into the air as required at 40CF,R. § 60.759(b)(lH2). 40 C.F,R. § 63. I 955, and its ROP (renewable operating permit).

2. Failure to address off-site landfill gas migration and extend the active collection system of the Landfill to comply with gas migration standards as required at 40 C.F.R. §60.759.(b)(l), 40 C.F.R. § 63.1955 and its ROP.

3. Failure to submit timely ACT (alternative compliance timeline) requests as required at 40 C.F.R. § 60.755(a)(3)&(5), 40 C.F.R. § 63.1955, and its ROP.

4. Failure to perform a timely performance test for two enclosed flares as required by the Landfill ROP.

5. Failure to operate the flares during turbine outages and maintain good air pollution control practices as required in 40 C.F.R. § 60.ll(d) and 40 C.F.R. § 63.6(e)(l)(i).

6. Failure to collect gas at a sufficient extraction rate as required in 40 C.F.R. § 60.752(b)(2)(ii)(A)(3), 40 C.F.R. § 63.1955, and its ROP.

Factual allegations & alleged violations

BFI formerly owned and operated the GCCS (gas collection and control system) at the Arbor Hills Landfill (the Landfill) located at 10690 West Six Mile Road, Northville, Michigan.

BFI retained ownership of the GCCS at the Landfill in a Purchase Agreement dated March 8, 2000 and operated the GCCS, including over 300 gas collection wells, two enclosed flares, and one utility flare. Subsequently, as of February 2, 2017, BFI transferred ownership and control. of the GCCS to Advanced Disposal, and as a result is no longer an owner or operator of the affected facility.

On September 29,  2016, EPA issued three Findings of Violation (FOVs) to BFI, Advanced Disposal, and Arbor Hills Energy. The FOV issued to BFI alleged that it violated the Landfill NSPS (new source performance standards), the Landfills NESHAP (National Emission
Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for municipal solid waste Landfills) , the NSPS General Provisions. the NESHAP Provisions, and the ROP (renewable operating permit).

On November 14, 2016, representatives of Advanced Disposal, BFI, Arbor Hills Energy, and EPA discussed the September 29, 2016 FOVs. The parties have also had subsequent discussions and communications regarding this matter.

 

EPA consent order

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued Arbor Hills Landfill a consent order on May 4, 2017. View the order
Our attorney offered the comments below.

  • Background: In general, odor from landfills is caused by the decomposition of buried, organic material, such as food. When decomposition of this type of material occurs, it creates gases with specific, odor-causing chemicals such as sulfides and ammonia.
  • Odor control at Arbor Hills Landfill: Arbor Hills operates 300 gas wells that collect landfill gas and sends it to one of two control systems. Some landfill gas is sent to a gas-to-energy plant that consists of 4 turbines that are used to generate electricity. The gas-to-energy plant is the primary control device for landfill gases. Any additional landfill gas is sent to one of 3 flares.
  • Compliance plan: Arbor Hills Landfill, as part of the consent order, has agreed to perform work to improve its landfill gas collection system according to a compliance plan. Specifically, the compliance plan requires Arbor Hills Landfill to do the following:
    • Add a flare to burn off any odor-causing chemicals from landfill gas that is released.
    • Improve system to control condensation from landfill gases.
    • Install a special type of well (referred to as a caisson well) to collect landfill gases in active landfill areas.
    • Accelerate the installation of final cover on some areas of the landfill.
    • Conduct studies of related to landfill gas.
  • Revisions to plan: The consent order provides that the compliance plan may need to be updated to ensure compliance with the Clean Air Act. It’s important to note that the consent order allows the EPA to revise the compliance plan to ensure that Arbor Hills Landfill will operate in compliance with the Clean Air Act. Under the existing schedule for the compliance plan, Arbor Hills Landfill will continue to perform work to improve its landfill gas systems through the end of 2017.

EPA, DEQ Violations

Arbor Hills Landfill has received two violations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this year and four violations from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ).

  • Violation – Republic Services (BFI Waste Systems of North America)
  • Violation – Arbor Hills Energy (Fortistar Methane Group)

epa-impact-violation

The EPA conducted ambient air sampling and surface monitoring that resulted in the violations for violating the Clean Air Act.

“We’re somewhat taking over,” said Kenneth Ruffatto, an EPA environmental engineer who oversees Arbor Hills.

He said the EPA has been working closely with the MDEQ and will continue to do so. The EPA is keeping logs of odor complaints submitted to the MDEQ. Ruffatto said it’s important to specify the type of odor you smell, if possible, when you submit odor complaints to the MDEQ because it helps identify the source.

He said neighbors should smell garbage occasionally but the odors Arbor Hills Landfill has been emitting for the last year and a half are unacceptable and the EPA is working with Advanced Disposal, BFI-Republic Services and Fortistar Methane Group-Arbor Hills Energy to remedy the issue.

“We’re not confident yet if it’s safe or unsafe,” Ruffatto said.

On Nov. 8, 2016, the MDEQ’s Office of Waste Management and Radiological Protection issued the latest violation to Arbor Hills. Review the violation

The MDEQ’s Air Quality Division has logged 422 odor complaints this year as of November 4  — about 40 of them in November.

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