nb-trash

Stacks of trash at the Fredericton landfill will no longer send up sulphur-smelling gasses, thanks to a new flare system. ((CBC))

The stench of rotting garbage near the Fredericton landfill has been mostlyeliminated, thanks to a $2-million flare that will burn the gas created by the trash before its released into the air.

Thousands of residentsnear the landfill have long complained about the stink, comparing the odour to something the family dog might have left behind.

Half the gas from the enormous landfill site, filled with hectares of stacked and cubed trash, was comprised of methane and strong-smelling sulphur. It wafted over neighbourhoods and invaded homes, especially in the summer when humidity was high.

Gordon Wilson, general manager of the Fredericton Solid Waste Commission, says residents can finally begin to breathe easier.

After two years of work, a complicated tubing system has been installed in the piles of trash, capturing the methane so it can be burned off before escaping into the air.

nb-trash2

Tubes submerged in piles of trash will collect noxious gasses so they can be burned off. ((CBC))

"When the full effect kicks in, they will not smell the gases. I think the residents will be very pleased," says Wilson.

He says the result will also be good for the environment, as methane is a destructive greenhouse gas. He says burning off the methane is the equivalent of removing one million barbecue tanks, or taking between 13,000 and 21,000 vehicles off the highway.

Wilson says that down the road, the system could be adapted to harness that gas burning and use it to generate electricity. He says the landfill could produce enough electricity to heat and light a maximum of 1,500 homes.

"The one that probably may be the most realistic would be putting in a turbineto generate power, and put it on the power grid with NB Power."