New 'scrubber' will reduce Ada County landfill odors

csewell@idahostatesman.comJanuary 23, 2014 

Smelly landfill gas is about to get a good scrubbing.

The county is installing a $3.2 million "scrubber" to reduce odors from gas that is extracted from the landfill.

Hydrogen sulfide, produced by the bacterial breakdown of organic matter, is toxic and flammable. It is also very smelly.

The county has installed an extensive system of wells and pipes that collect the gas created by decomposing trash.

The county burns off some of the captured gas in a flare, and since 2006, has diverted some of it to two engines to convert the gas to electricity.

Last year the county received to $254,000 from the sale of landfill gas, which a private company, Fortistar, converts to electricity and sells to Idaho Power.

The scrubber will remove hydrogen sulfide from the harvested gas, reducing odors and sulfur dioxide, which is created when hydrogen sulfide is burned.

Construction on the project will start in July and should be completed by November.

Once the scrubber is installed, Fortistar will be able to add two more electricity-generating engines, which means more revenue for the county.

The county also has a new way for citizens to report offensive landfill odors via a new online odor-reporting tool.

Upon receiving a report, the website logs the odor location, current weather conditions and other information, which will be used for tracking and analyzing odors over time.

The odor reporting tool is available via the Ada County landfill website, adacountylandfill.com.

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