People living near a household waste storage centre complained of itching and breathing difficulties. They suspected that the biogas released by the site was the cause of their symptoms. The Regional Health Agency informed the Inspection authorities for classified facilities, which then went to the site.
The inspectors noted that biogas odours were perceptible at 300 m from the site, but not at the level of the town’s closest dwellings from which the report and the complaint were made. The facility operator did not conduct further H2S monitoring measurements in the biogas collection network.
The waste pile was negatively pressurised, with the biogas generated being injected into an engine. This engine had been under testing since 22 September switching over between the engine, the boiler and the flare, resulting in a jerky vacuum phenomenon. It appears that the biogas collection network was weak in the last two cells operated (one vertical well still to be drilled and another well to be connected to the collection network). In addition, the watertightness of the leachate collection wells needed to be improved on these same two cells. These two malfunctions combined can cause biogas to rise through leachate collection wells. The facility operator has to finalise the coverage of several cells and conduct work on the biogas collection network and the leachate collection network on both cells in order to correct the situation and prevent such nuisances from recurring.