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Fact Sheet 2

Veolia ES Orchard Hills Landfill and Winnebago Landfill Odor Issues

Fact Sheet #2

August 2010

Ogle and Winnebago Counties, Illinois


Over the past year there have been multiple accounts of odor complaints from areas surrounding the Veolia ES Orchard Hills Landfill and the Winnebago Landfill. Given concerns for public health and the environment, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA) inspected each of the landfills to determine if there was a problem with odors at the landfills in question Sulfur-like odors were detected during some of these inspections at each landfill. Since that time, the Illinois EPA has been working with the Veolia ES Orchard Hills and Winnebago Landfills to evaluate landfill operations in an effort to ensure the health and safety of the community and the protection of the environment during operation of the facilities.

Compliance Issues

On February 4, 2010, the Illinois EPA sent Violation Notices to Veolia ES Orchard Hills Landfill, the Winnebago Landfill, and Winnebago Energy Center, the gas-to-energy plant located at Winnebago Landfill. Working in parallel, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) also issued Notices of Violation to all three companies. All three companies have provided information in response to these letters. The Illinois EPA and USEPA continue to work together on the issue with the common goal being to bring these sources into full compliance with applicable laws and regulations, and to mitigate the odor issues being experienced by the surrounding communities as soon as possible.

Winnebago Landfill

To date, Winnebago Landfill has taken the following measures to reduce or eliminate odors:

  • Ceased accepting pulverized drywall, a likely source of sulfurous odors, and has implemented a management plan to monitor incoming waste streams,
  • is using compost and lime as cover materials to neutralize hydrogen sulfide (H2S),
  • has placed low-permeability clay soils at the outside edge areas of the landfill unit to address the potential for less-efficient gas collection in these areas,
  • does not recirculate leachate,
  • prepared an “Odor Management Plan,” including an “Odor Monitoring Plan” under which they are utilizing a Scentometer for identification of odor levels at or beyond the landfill property lines,
  • installed additional gas collection wells in the closed southern portion of the landfill (South Unit) and has plans to install a horizontal collection system in the northern portion of the landfill that most recently began operation (North Expansion),
  • intends to relocate and reconfigure existing flares to facilitate better control of the landfill gas when it cannot be sent to the gas-to-energy plant at Winnebago Energy and,
  • is currently in the concluding stages of putting the final cover on a 15-acre parcel in the South Unit where they believe most of the sulfur-containing waste is located.

Veolia Orchard Hills

To date, Veolia ES Orchard Hills Landfill has taken the following measures to reduce or eliminate odors:

  • Ceased acceptance of pulverized drywall fines,
  • conducts daily on-site inspections to identify if portions of the landfill are odorous, as well as monitoring incoming refuse to identify particularly odorous waste,
  • implemented the use of odor neutralizers,
  • placed additional soil cover over areas suspected of generating odors,
  • immediately buries and covers specific odorous waste streams,
  • suspended leachate recirculation in portions of the landfill where odors are detected,
  • increased the frequency of gas well field monitoring when landfills odors are detected beyond property boundaries,
  • created a plan for qualitative odor monitoring and continue to work with the Illinois EPA on a plan for quantitative H2S monitoring,
  • evaluated their landfill gas collection system, resulting in the installation of 13 additional vertical extraction wells and,
  • is installing three new blowers and an additional enclosed flare that, in conjunction with existing equipment, will provide total gas control better than that which is predicted to be necessary for the life of the landfill.

The Illinois EPA and USEPA will continue to oversee odor management plans and practices, as well as other activities developed and implemented by the landfill companies. As odor-causing materials (sulfur-containing wastes) have been placed in these landfills over the years, on-going decomposition will continue to present possible odor problems. Moving forward, the goal is effective management of existing wastes and prevention of off-site odors.

An odor log form and instructions soon will be mailed out to those persons on our contact list. This form will enable residents to record the exact date, time, and weather conditions when an odor is detected. Illinois EPA asks for your assistance in collecting this data. This information will be compiled and compared to the meteorological data in the area which will help in pinpointing where continuing odors are coming from and lead to action plans to address problem areas.

For more information, please contact:

Jay A. Timm

Community Relations Coordinator

Illinois EPA Office of Community Relations

Phone: (217) 557-4972
Maggie Carson

Illinois EPA Communications Manager

Central Management Services

(217) 558-1526