Tuesday, September 5, 2017


I continue to inform myself on all things to do with methane gas. That means that among Woolwich staff, politicians and myself there is at least one of us who wants to know the facts. Unfortunately I suspect it is also possible that this research I am doing is not even being done by Woolwich's consultants. If it is then I can only hope that they are bright enough to keep a written record (e-mail?) of their correspondence with Woolwich because their client will cheerfully throw them under the bus if this thing explodes in all their faces, pun intended.

On-line one can find articles from academia regarding landfill gas, methane and collection and venting of these gases. Many university researchers over decades have advanced the knowledge of methane production and migration. There are also on-line documents from the U.S. EPA and also various state environmental departments advising of both legal requirements concerning landfill gas monitoring and collection as well as backgrounders for municipal bureaucrats as to their duties and responsibilities. Finally there are even private companies including consulting companies sharing advice and direction for environmental managers dealing with methane problems.

Hence the title above. The reports written by Conestoga Rovers & Assoc. (CRA) are lacking in a number of aspects. Many of them I listed in my first Delegation to Council back on August 1, 2017. The question arises however as to private correspondence and or conversations between Woolwich and CRA. Has Woolwich Staff and Council been sitting in the gallery meekly accepting everything CRA gave them or have they been active participants challenging conclusions and recommendations or even pushing CRA in the direction they wish to go? Have they been pushing CRA in the directions they don't want them to go, namely south and east towards the park and the subdivision?

All of these reports emphasize monitoring for methane around the entire perimeter of landfills. This has not occurred with the Bolender Park Landfill. All of them emphasize the importance of either continuous monitoring of methane or if one-time "snap shot", grab sampling; the fact that it must be conducted at regular intervals according to a detailed plan. Neither has occurred at the Bolender Park Landfill. Barometric pressure is a huge factor in the migration of methane and barometer pressures should be included in routine reports. They have not been.

Near surface gas monitoring should also be used for a myriad of reasons. It can be used on the surface of the landfill to locate cracks in the cover and pinpoint hot spots and it can and should also be used inside nearby buildings. Basement cracks etc can be pinpointed and repaired thus reducing intrusion of methane gas. This has not occurred as per CRA's ten reports.

Migration of methane from landfills is more likely in the winter when the ground is frozen over the landfill forcing methane to move laterally under the increased pressure as it is not being directly vented upwards. Hence monitoring rounds should occur during the winter months as well. Essentially fair weather monitoring alone will understate both pressure and concentrations of methane gas. Generally this has been the case over the last thirty years here in Elmira.

Back on August 1, 2017 in my Delegation to Council I politely suggested that they obtain a peer review of Conestoga Rover's reports. To date they have not advised me of their intent to do so. It is needed desperately.

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