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Kansas Landfill Becomes First to Use Methane Drone in EPA Settlement

Updated: Dec 31, 2023

December 18, 2023 (Ann Arbor, MI) Sniffer was mentioned in an article by Waste Dive as a Kansas landfill becomes the first to use drones for surface emissions monitoring in a settlement with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The operator proposed using Sniffer Robotics’ SnifferDRONE for its quarterly surface emission monitoring (OTM-51/ALT-150), which was accepted by the US EPA as part of a settlement. We're grateful for Hamm Companies for allowing us to be part of the solution.

Highlights from the article can be read below, and the full article can be read here.


Hamm proposed using drones from Sniffer Robotics to monitor its landfill in Lawrence, Kansas. The settlement comes after inspectors reported that landfill had violated the Clean Air Act.

Last year, the EPA approved the use of Sniffer Robotics’ unmanned aerial systems at MSW landfills to comply with Clean Air Act regulations. The company was in the approval process for about four years, according to a release.

In its response to Sniffer Robotics’ application, the agency noted that drone-based monitoring is “typically no less stringent and often more conservative” than traditional surface emissions monitoring methods. Most commonly, an inspector walks along a landfill with a monitor held close to the surface to screen for gas leaks, a practice that environmental groups and industry professionals alike have argued is becoming obsolete.

A comparison of findings from Sniffer’s drones at four landfills compared to traditional SEM compliance methods found that the drones detected more than twice as many likely exceedances — up to 287 from 126, per the letter.

“With today’s realization that industry needs innovative tools and improved methods to deal with methane emissions, we believe the SnifferDrone offers the industry the next and best step forward to better address emissions,” the company wrote in a blog post hailing the approval.


Additional information can be found in the original article by Waste Dive.

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