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  • Writer's pictureSniffer Evangelist

16,500 Methane Leaks Detected!

Updated: Apr 24, 2023

Methane is a natural byproduct of the decomposition of waste. Though the waste industry installs gas collection systems and engineers landfill cover systems on landfills to contain methane from emitting into the atmosphere, emissions still occur. Our job is to inspect landfills for methane emissions as required by US EPA federal and state regulations, report emissions exceeding prescribed thresholds, and verify work performed to remediate.

In our short history, our team has directly identified 16,500 methane leak sources contributing to landfill emissions that affect our environment. Our customers have been notified of our findings and have remediated them as part of their normal operations and maintenance efforts.

We've identified these leaks by using our SnifferDRONE™ for emissions studies, or via our methodical manual leak detection services for compliance. This number continues to grow as we grow our business nationally, demonstrating the positive impact our ground-based approach is having on the environment.

It's important to note that while we are a drone-services company with the industry's most advanced solution for methane leak detection, we believe that the greatest impact at reducing methane emissions is made on the ground.

While there is considerable promotion of methane emissions found by satellites and manned aircraft, truth is, the information provided by these means are not actionable. Further work is needed on the ground to isolate the leaks and fix them. By comparison, improving the method of inspecting for leaks via a ground-based approach during normal operations will provide the greatest customer value, and an even greater benefit to the environment. We call this approach "hyper-local".

But, the traditional method performed throughout the nation of detecting leaks on the ground is performed manually and independently, and lacks consistency/standardization in its reporting requirements. The process is highly subjective and inconsistently applied, therefore the performance of identifying leaks is inconsistent nationally. Importantly, data collected during the leak inspection process can be of great value, though today it is generally disregarded.

Sniffer introduced an automated means for leak detection with the SnifferDRONE and has developed software and a robust technician training program to improve the performance of methane leak detection in the waste industry. More information about our technologies, methods, and comprehensive approach to methane leak detection can be read at this recently published Waste360 article. And, while we collect data during our inspections, our data transformation process converts it to actionable information that provides clear and explicit information for action. The world is noisy enough - we don't need to add to it.

The customers who choose to use our services are making a difference by using the industry's most advanced approach to detecting emissions and aiding in their remediation.

Methane is the second most prevalent manmade greenhouse gas (GHG) and more than 25 times more hazardous to our environment than carbon dioxide. It is widely reported that the landfill industry is the third largest emitter of methane gas, behind oil and gas, and agriculture. But, one could argue that the landfill industry has the most stringent and responsible regulations to detect and remediate methane leaks. Unlike other industries, federal regulation specific to the landfill industry stipulate quarterly monitoring of sites while providing for specific methods of inspection. More importantly, federal regulations specify that methane leaks measuring 500 parts per million (ppm) or more most be reported and remediated within 30 days. A threshold for remediation is a requirement that is missing in other industries.

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