Some people in the Lincoln area near Fredericton say their air still stinks despite a new methane gas collection system at the Fredericton Region Solid Waste Commission's landfill.

Area resident Kathleen Melanson says "the last few weeks have been exceptionally foul."

Melanson says she applauds the landfill for recycling the methane gas created by the decomposing trash, but there were foul odours nearly every day between Dec. 30 and Jan. 15.

"You think it's safe to open a window in the middle of the night and wake up choking on the fumes," she said in an email to CBC News.


The Fredericton Region Solid Waste Commission has spent millions on a system to capture methane gas and convert it into electricity. (CBC)

The landfill's manager of education and public relations, Andrew McGilligan, contends the problem is weather-related and there isn't much more the landfill can do.

"Sometimes different atmospheric pressures, especially fluctuation changes as we've had, from extreme cold to extreme highs, and as well as wind direction, has a big role to play in it, depending on where that wind will shift and push the odour to, but sometimes more gas gets released when we have those big changes in atmospheric pressure," he said.

McGilligan says there will always be some smell from the landfill on occasion; it will never be reduced 100 per cent.

Has improved

But he says the landfill hasn't had many complaints recently and notes the number has dropped dramatically since 2006, when it invested $2 million on a flare to burn the methane before it was released into the air.

Since then, the landfill has spent several millions on a system to collect the methane gas and convert it into electricity.

In December, it joined the provincial power grid.

McGilligan says the landfill has been generating 2.1 megawatts of renewable energy, enough to heat and light about 2,000 homes.

The landfill has a 20-year deal with NB Power worth about $20 million.

The operation handles up to 80 million kilograms of solid waste annually.

At most landfills, methane gas, which is a potent greenhouse gas, is simply burned off.