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  Evaluation of Fugitive Emissions at a Former Landfill Site in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Using Ground-Based Optical Remote Sensing Technology (48 pp, 1.54 MB) (EPA/600/R-05/041) April 2005

A former landfill site in Colorado Springs, Colorado, was assessed for landfill gas emissions in support of reuse options for the property. The current owners of the landfill and the State of Colorado requested assistance from EPA to perform a site assessment to search for the presence of any fugitive gas emissions from the site.

The focus of this study was to evaluate fugitive emissions of methane and volatile organic compounds at the site in support of the reuse objectives, using a scanning open-path Fourier transform infrared spectrometer, open-path tunable diode laser absorption spectroscopy, and an ultraviolet differential optical absorption spectrometer. The study involved a technique developed through research funded by EPA. The technique uses ground-based optical remote sensing technology, known as optical remote sensing-radial plume mapping.

The horizontal radial plume mapping (HRPM) method was used to map surface concentrations, and the vertical radial plume mapping (VRPM) method was used to measure emissions fluxes downwind of the site.

The HRPM surveys detected the presence of a methane hot spot in the northeast quadrant of the site; the peak concentration for this hot spot was greater than 0.4 parts per million (ppm) above ambient background levels. Another methane hot spot was detected in the southeast quadrant of the site; the peak concentration for this hot spot was greater than 0.5 ppm above ambient background levels.

The VRPM surveys measured an average methane flux from the site of 4.9 g/s. The location of the peak of the reconstructed methane plume agrees well with the location of the hot spots detected during the HRPM surveys. This suggests that emissions from the two hot spots are a major source of the methane plume detected during the VRPM survey.


Susan Thorneloe

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