LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Angelina County officials are looking to stay in good standings with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality by improving the county's landfill gas collection and control system.
The system currently uses 16 gas extraction wells to burn off methane gas at a central location near the office of the facility. Every year, the facility burns off an average of 201,942,000 cubic feet of the flammable gas.
"The methane gas is like a balloon under ground," said Landfill Director Chuck Brooks. "The wells create a vacuum of the landfill and flares it off."
That may seem like a lot of gas, but it is still not enough. The facility has nine gas monitoring probes around the perimeter to monitor for methane concentration.
"We're installing six more monitoring wells," Brooks said. "What we are trying to do right now is to keep the gas from building up so much that it pushes out and migrates onto other properties. "
Brooks said with the gas being flammable, it is important to not let the gas grow and move to private property around the landfill.
Three of the nine GMPs have recently shown high amounts of methane concentration that are above the limits set by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The county has caught a break with TCEQ not handing out penalties for the time being.
"As long as we're progressing towards the outcome of lowering the gas migration, we'll be in compliance," Brooks said.
Brooks said the project of the six new wells will cost over $100,000 but would work for the foreseeable future. These would not be the last new wells needed though. With the facility accommodating 10 counties as well as the cities of Lufkin, Woodville, and San Augustine, more cells of trash piles will be started in the next 10 years meaning more monitoring wells will also be needed then.
"As we add trash and keep moving down the line and filling up cells, we will need to add wells," Brooks said.
The Angelina County Commissioners will vote Tuesday to start advertising for bids on the construction of the new monitoring wells. The meeting is at 10 am at the Angelina County Annex.