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Estimation of emissions of nonmethane organic compounds from a closed landfill site using a landfill gas emission model

Keywords: ACTS and RISK software, Biodegradation, Emission model, Health risk calculations, Landfill gas, LFG, Monte Carlo analysis, Random numbers, Stochastic behaviour

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Abstract:

Nonmethane organic compounds (NMOC) emissions from landfills often constitute significant risks both to human health and the general environment. To date very little work has been done on tracking the emissions of NMOC from landfills. To this end, a concerted effort was made to investigate the total annual mass emission rate of NMOC from a closed landfill site in South Manchester, United Kingdom. This was done by using field estimates of NMOC concentration and the landfill parameters into the Landfill Gas Emission Model embedded in ACTS and RISK software. Two results were obtained: (i) a deterministic outcome of 1.7218 x 10-7 kg/year, which was calculated from mean values of the field estimates of NMOC concentration and the landfill parameters, and (ii) a probabilistic outcome of 1.66 x 10-7 - 1.78 x 10-7 kg/year, which is a range of value obtained after Monte Carlo simulation of the uncertain parameters of the landfill including NMOC concentration. A comparison between these two results suggests that the probabilistic outcome is a more representative and reliable estimate of the total annual mass emission of NMOC especially given the variability of the parameters of the model. Moreover, a comparison of the model result and the safety standard of 5.0 x 10-5 kg/year indicate that the mass emission of NMOC from the studied landfill is significantly less than previously thought. However, given that this can accumulate to a dangerous level over a long period of time (such as the age of this landfill site); it may have started affecting the health of the people living within the vicinity of the landfill. A case is therefore made for more studies to be carried out on the emissions of other gases such as CH4 and CO2 from the studied landfill site, as this would help to understand the synergistic effect of the various gases being emitted from the landfill.

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