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Waste Management plans to increase natural gas extraction from Louisville landfill
Dive Brief: Waste Management is planning a new facility to increase its gas capture efforts at the Outer Loop Landfill in Louisville, as reported by the Courier-Journal. The site already has a natural gas pipeline and Waste Management is capturing some of the gas to fuel its local fleet of 80 trucks. Though much of this gas is currently being flared, and new equipment will allow the company to clean more of the methane being generated by its landfill. The company will need to change its land use plan and also obtain a new air permit from Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District. Dive Insight: According to Waste Management, this site receives about 787,000 tons of waste and uses 233 wells to capture the resulting gas. Once the facility is complete this gas can be used to fuel up to ten times more trucks per day. Waste Management estimates that the site has nearly 50 years of capacity remaining so this investment will be useful far into the future. Though not directly related to last year's landfill performance guides from the EPA, these plans come as more companies and municipalities are looking for ways to manage their methane. In addition to the financial benefits from selling this gas or using it to fuel local fleets, this shift will also help meet new methane reduction requirements in states such as California. Waste Management announced plans to shift progress metrics to greenhouse gas reduction rather than recycling tonnage in its most recent sustainability report and reducing landfill emissions were a priority for the EPA during the Obama administration. Based on the latest federal data, landfills still account for more than 80% of the waste industry's greenhouse gas emissions.