WXYZ reports high SO2 at Arbor Hills Landfill


One of the most common, ongoing, issues at the Arbor Hills Landfill are the odor concerns. ADS notes that landfills will never be able to fully eliminate odors, but after a recent violation notice filed by MDEQ ADS responded saying that they have assigned a full-time compost manager to oversee the yard waste operations. According to responses from ADS, there are ongoing issues with what’s known as a “flare” which is needed to burn off excess methane gas when it can’t go to the energy plant that burns it to power up to 10,000 nearby homes.

This means that when the energy plant isn’t capable of burning the gases put out by the landfill, the flare doesn’t have the capacity to burn the excess gases.

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An ongoing concern at Arbor Hills has to do with the amount of sulfur dioxide that is going into the air. In a violation dated February 1, MDEQ notes that ADS is attempting to get permission from the EPA to increase the limit of SO2 it discharges. The EPA sets limits for the amount of SO2 that can be discharged because it can cause coughing, throat irritation and breathing difficulties for some people — especially those that are sensitive to air quality such as people with asthma. High concentrations of SO2 can affect lung function.

According to ADS, the sulfur dioxide problems stem from Fortistar — a second company that operates the gas-to-energy plant that burns methane gases that are collected at the landfill. ADS is simultaneously working on back-up systems (the flare) which was described in the “odor concerns” section above.


A recent violation cited ADS for having too much leachate on-site. Leachate is essentially the “garbage juices” that come off landfill sites. Landfills are supposed to keep the amount in specific areas within allowable levels/amounts. Since the violation, 7 Action News has been told, that ADS is working to extract and discharge leachate in a way that is MDEQ compliant — they note that the issue was with a specific section of the landfill, not the entirety of the facility.

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