Falls Approves Waste Management’s Renewable Natural Gas Project
A renewable natural gas facility could be operational in Falls Township by 2024, significantly reducing greenhouse gases and expanding the availability of local jobs.
After a thorough review and questions, the Falls Township Board of Supervisors, during Monday night’s meeting, granted preliminary and final land development approval for Waste Management to construct two 20,000-square-foot renewable natural gas plants on a portion of the company’s 47-acre Fairless Landfill complex in Falls. The site houses the Fairless, GROWS and GROWS North landfills. The renewable natural gas facility would replace ultra-low emission flares used as the primary control for the landfill gas generated from the facilities.
As part of the $90 million project, Waste Management attorney Mike Meginniss said the flares would be decommissioned.
“This is one we’re very proud of and we think the township could be proud of,” Meginniss said of the project.
Waste Management Project Manager Eric Oehling said the undertaking has been years in the making. Once operational, it will be the company’s sixth renewable natural gas facility. Waste Management currently operates five other gas-to-energy facilities. Oehling anticipates the plant spanning the “life of the landfill, plus 20 or 30 years.”
During construction, officials said the project would create 40 to 50 jobs, with an additional eight to 10 permanent positions once the facility is complete.
The plant would provide for “stronger odor control,” according to Oehling.
Waste Management’s renewable natural gas facility will process biogas collected from the landfill into pipeline-quality gas for injection into the nearby commercial gas distribution network. The facility is expected to recover and distribute enough renewable natural gas to serve the equivalent of 65,000 households each year in Pennsylvania, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by more than 170,000 tons per year.
Landfill gas is comprised of approximately 50 percent methane, according to Oehling. Through the process, methane would increase to 98 or 99 percent methane, he said.
“We want to capture all the methane for the plant,” Oehling said. “Methane is money to us.”
Supervisor Brian Galloway called the renewable natural gas project a “wonderful endeavor.”