La Crosse County’s goal of being carbon-free by the year 2050 is getting a major boost from methane control at the county landfill.
Sustainability consultant Anders Olson says methane levels emitted from the landfill are down almost 80 per cent from the levels in 2010. Olson tells the county board that covering the landfill surface makes a big difference.
“There’s less uncovered area now at the landfill than there has been in the past,” said Olson, “and that covering over the landfill surface reduces the amount of methane that can escape to the atmosphere and increases the efficiency of the collection system.”
The county also has been diverting methane from the landfill to the Gundersen Medical Center, where it is used to produce power.
Olson says that the amount of methane released into the air from the county landfill has gone down 78 per cent in the last 13 years.
“Most of that methane gets captured by collection systems and then combusted, where it gets converted into carbon dioxide,” he says, “but some fugitive methane is able to escape into the atmosphere and become a greenhouse gas.”
According to Olson, covering a large part of the landfill reduces the chance that methane will rise into the atmosphere, causing the air to become warmer.