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    Michigan landfill gas company settles over emissions


The state and federal government alleged the company violated several clean air provisions.

by: Daniel Graeber

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Michigan landfill gas company settles over emissions

The US Environmental Protection Agency on September 9 said a settlement with a Michigan landfill gas company calls for steps to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions.

A complaint filed simultaneously by the federal government and the state of Michigan alleges Arbor Hills Energy, a landfill gas company, violated “several” state and federal laws related to emissions, particularly emissions of sulphur dioxide (SO2).

“This pollutant causes harm to human health and the environment once emitted into the air, including premature death, heart attacks, respiratory problems and adverse environmental effects,” the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) explained.

Arbor Hills converts the gas emitted during the decomposition of organic waste into electricity by burning it at four of its turbines. Under the terms of the settlement, the company needs to either build a facility that can convert that gas into pipeline-quality natural gas without SO2 emissions, or install the necessary treatments to filter out those emissions by early 2023.

“This settlement makes important progress in improving air quality near the Arbor Hills facility,” Michigan attorney general Dana Nessel said.

Despite the setback, Michigan is supplementing its grid with forms of renewable energy, from wind and solar to natural gas the industry describes as renewable.

Waste-to-gas company Brightmark in June started work on three renewable natural gas (RNG) projects in Michigan that will rely on animal waste as a feedstock. Situated in rural parts of western and southern Michigan, the three projects will use digestors to help process dairy cow manure into renewable natural gas. All three will feed processed gas into regional pipeline networks.