The Bannock County landfill’s methane gas project is under construction, and soon tons of decomposing trash could be lighting up local homes.
Unless it’s captured, the gases created deep inside the landfill by layers of old trash slowly make their way to the surface and pollute the air.
Environmental protection mandates mean sometime within the next decade or so the landfill will have to cut down on how many harmful gases the landfill releases.
“It’s what you have to do. You have no choice, it’s EPA regulations and DEQ, so we have to do it,” Bannock Public Works Compliance Manager Therese Marchetti said.
And as long as they have to do something with those gases, they might as well find a use for it.
“The methane will go through the generator and the other gases will go through the flare, and at that point we’ll turn it into electricity and sell it to Idaho Power,” Marchetti said.
The idea is pretty simple, but the system isn’t.
The landfill has drilled dozens of wells, some more than a hundred feet deep, to essentially mine the methane gas, all connected with miles of piping, leading to flare.
The flare will light up in mid December, and for a few months it will just capture and burn off the gases before installing a generator to turn methane into money.
By selling electricity to the power company, the county expects to make back it’s $3.5 million investment in 6-10 years.