BINGO acknowledges that each aspect of the waste management hierarchy fulfills an important role in an effective best practice waste management and resource recovery system, and that each aspect plays a different and significant role due to regulatory, economic, and environmental factors. Managing waste in accord with this hierarchy including the disposal of residual waste to modern landfills, is an essential service. Even at the highest levels of resource recovery in a circular economy, there will be a continuing need to dispose of some residual waste to landfill (considered as leakage under the circular economy model) to protect human health and the environment.
Although disposal of waste in landfill sites falls at the bottom of waste hierarchy, landfill will remain a necessary part of NSW waste strategy into the foreseeable future for wastes that cannot be re-used, recycled, or recovered. BINGO’s focus remains on diverting as much waste as possible from landfill.
It is important to note that although Eastern Creek REP landfill is not licensed to, nor accepts putrescible wastes, the material which is permitted to be landfilled does contain organic material (such as wood waste, garden waste, paper and cardboard). This material can degrade to result in emissions of methane and other landfill gases. LFG destruction in a properly designed and operated control device, such as a flare or energy recovery unit, is preferable to uncontrolled release of landfill gas for managing health and environmental impacts associated with landfill gas. In fact, many of the large landfills in Sydney licensed to receive general solid waste have landfill gas capture flare systems and/or energy recovery systems in place.
What are we doing to manage landfill gas at Eastern Creek REP?
BINGO has submitted a development application as required under the site’s Environmental Protection Licence (EPL13426) to build on the success of the temporary landfill gas collection and treatment system, and provide a more permanent, long-term sustainable landfill gas treatment solution to reduce the environmental impact of gases that would be otherwise discharged to the atmosphere from the landfill. A community consultation report on the permanent flare application will be finalised in mid-December and comments on the application can be received up until this time.
The proposed permanent landfill gas capture project will combust gas derived from the Eastern Creek landfill with up to 85 percent destruction efficiency within two permanent, enclosed flares at a rate of 3 000 standard cubic metres per hour. An indicative illustration of the permanent flare infrastructure is shown in the figure.
The flares will be designed to be achieve the emission requirements as set out by NSW Environment Protection Authority under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997, and the Protection of the Environment (Clean Air) Regulation 2021. The flares will also be constructed, installed and operated in accordance with relevant Australian Standards.
An example of the proposed flare design is shown in the figure.
Assessment of potential air quality impacts
When landfill gas is combusted in a flare, hydrogen sulphide is converted (oxidised) to sulphur dioxide, with nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter. A detailed air quality assessment has been undertaken which considers all of these potential emission pathways, and pollutants noted above. The preliminary findings of the air quality impact assessment indicate that the concentrations of all pollutants assessed are below the NSW Environment Protection Authority air quality criteria, at all residential and industrial locations surrounding the Eastern Creek Recycling Ecology Park.
Overall, LFG flaring and generation projects significantly improve the environment because of the significant methane emission reductions and supporting the achievement of air pollutant reductions. The proposed permanent flare at Eastern Creek REP will result in approximately 265,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent avoided each year, which equates to an annual greenhouse gas emission reduction of 68 percent.
Flaring LFG to manage landfill gas destroys most of the non-methane organic compounds (including air pollutants) that are present at low concentrations in landfill gas, which reduces possible health risks.
A summary of other key benefits of the proposed landfill gas capture project are:
- The capture of a large proportion of LFG;
- Allows the treatment by combustion of the captured LFG, which:
- oxidises methane (CH4) to carbon dioxide (CO2), thereby reducing the greenhouse gas impact of those emissions; and
- oxidises odorous gases (such as H2S) to less-odorous compounds.
Visit our Eastern Creek page for more information.