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Saskatoon residents can expect some odour from city landfill as gas well project expands

Crews are drilling new methane gas wells at the Saskatoon landfill in the coming weeks. (Courtesy: City of Saskatoon) Crews are drilling new methane gas wells at the Saskatoon landfill in the coming weeks. (Courtesy: City of Saskatoon)
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The city says there may be some odour emanating from the landfill in the coming weeks as crews dig new gas wells and piping to collect more methane from decomposing waste.

According to the City of Saskatoon, there are currently about five million tonnes of waste at the landfill. Since 2014, the city has tapped this heaping mass of municipal garbage to draw out the methane, burning it to generate electricity.

The system currently produces enough energy to power 1,200 homes every year and generates about $1.3 million in revenue for the city through the sale of power to SaskPower, the city said in a news release on Monday.

When organic waste decomposes underground, in the absence of oxygen, it creates gas that’s almost equal parts carbon dioxide and methane, a highly potent greenhouse gas.

Burning the methane produces carbon dioxide, which is 25 times less harmful to the atmosphere than methane.

The city says its current wells are responsible for reducing over 50,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas produced by the landfill every year.

A map of the current methane collection sites at the Saskatoon landfill. (Courtesy: City of Saskatoon)This expansion, which is expected to take six weeks to complete, could bring that total up to 80,000 tonnes.

 

The work will have no impact on air quality and won’t pose a health risk to residents, the city says.

To tap the gas, the city says workers cap a section of the landfill with clay, drill vertical wells into the waste and connect them with underground piping.

Vacuum compressors then capture the gas and pipe it to a station where it’s either combusted in a flare or piped to the power generation facility.

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