New Methane Reduction Plan Announced

Author: Kyle Williams, P.E.

To reduce methane emissions from landfills, NYSDEC and NYSERDA will undertake actions in two areas:  diversion of organic waste from landfills, and management of landfills to reduce methane emissions from waste decomposition.  

Organic Waste Diversion

The Methane Reduction Plan proposes outreach and program development to encourage food donation, composting and/or anaerobically digestion.  There will also be an evaluation of what revisions can be made to NYSDEC regulations to support funding of organic diversion. 

Reducing Emissions from Landfills

The proposed 6 NYCRR Part 360 requirements are referenced as a way to increase gas collection at active landfills, including smaller landfills that currently aren’t required to capture gas.  NYSDEC hopes to finalize the Part 360 revisions at the end of 2017 following a second public comment period.  

Additional NYSDEC actions will be taken to develop best management practices (BMPs) for enhanced methane capture at landfills.  NYSDEC will evaluate and make recommendations for methane reduction at active, inactive and closed landfills.  NYSDEC intends to review the design capacity and emissions thresholds currently in place for requiring active gas collection and control systems.   The Plan also makes a point of acknowledging that requiring methane reductions could affect landfills involved with carbon offset voluntary markets, and that this will be considered in NYSDEC evaluations. 

NYSDEC will also examine the EPA GHG Mandatory Reporting Rule (40 CFR 98) criteria and assumptions to determine if additional guidance on methane emissions reporting from landfills should be developed.  The SEQR guidance for assessing greenhouse gas emissions will also be updated to incorporate the projected effects of climate change on landfills.  

Ultimately, this process may result in additional revisions to regulations.  There will most certainly be impacts felt by solid waste management facilities across New York State.  B&L will continue to monitor and evaluate the progress of these actions.