(June 19, 2019)
This webpage will provide ongoing updates on the measures that NJSEA will take to resolve the issues concerning hydrogen sulfide (H2S) emissions from the Keegan Landfill in Kearny, New Jersey and the resulting intermittent odors. To be clear, the NJSEA is aggressively pursuing a thorough and efficient resolution to this issue.
As set forth in the Administrative Consent Order (ACO) with the NJDEP, the NJSEA has installed eight monitors around the perimeter of the landfill and is collecting data from these monitors that is reported to the NJDEP, the Town of Kearny and is posted on this website for review by the public. The data that is posted is the raw data from the monitors, which is subject to review and validation by the NJDEP. It is important to note that several of the monitors are not located at the property line. Therefore, exceedances at those monitors do not necessarily constitute a violation of the NJDEP ambient air regulations, which prohibit emissions averaging over 30 parts per billion for 30 minutes at the property line.
In addition to the operation of this comprehensive monitoring program, the NJSEA is working to fix the underlying issue itself. We have designed a system to collect and destroy H2S and our design is before the NJDEP for permitting and review. The NJSEA is hiring a contractor experienced in construction of landfill gas collection and control systems and will be ready to begin as soon as the permit is issued. The contractor will mobilize to the site on June 24 to survey the site and layout the system, receive material deliveries, and begin preparing the pipes for installation. Excavation of the landfill surface for installation of the system is expected to commence on June 29. We continue to meet or exceed the timelines for action in the ACO that we entered with the NJDEP.
The Town is monitoring our progress. In accordance with the May 24, 2019, Order issued by the Honorable Jeffrey R. Jablonski, the Town of Kearny is copied on correspondence between the NJSEA and the NJDEP including correspondence regarding permitting of the gas collection system.
It is important to correct misinformation that is being disseminated to the public. The NJSEA conducted Surface Emissions Monitoring (SEM) on March 24 and May 3 for the purpose of gathering information to design the gas collection system. A recent document distributed to the public mistakenly states that this SEM report is the monitoring ordered by NJDEP in the ACO. It is not. When conducting SEM, readings are taken 2-to-4 inches from the ground surface. Because any H2S emissions dissipate as they leave the surface, SEM results should not be substituted for perimeter or property line monitoring data and do not constitute an evaluation of quantity or concentration of H2S emissions at or beyond the property line. This is why property line monitoring rather than SEM data is required by the NJDEP for enforcement purposes and why property line monitoring is being performed by the NJSEA. It is important to note that analysis of the property line data indicates that over 99 percent of readings are below 30 ppb, with the vast majority in the 0-5 ppb range.
Contrary to what some are suggesting, neither closing the landfill nor the continued suspension of operations will stop the H2S emissions or the associated odors. Over the coming months we will be executing a real fix to this problem: installation of the active gas collection system. We have invited Town representatives to meet on an ongoing basis with our construction team and we are hopeful that the Town of Kearny will join us as a partner in keeping the public informed during the construction process.