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DEP Issues Air Quality Plan Approval for Leachate Evaporation System at Westmoreland Sanitary Landfill

Did you hear? The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) authorized an air quality plan approval to allow an onsite leachate treatment and evaporation system to be installed at Westmoreland Sanitary Landfill, located in Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County.  

Leachate is moisture produced by waste itself and stormwater that infiltrates the landfill’s waste. Leachate from landfills must be treated onsite or transported to a separate treatment facility. Evaporating liquid leachate at Westmoreland Sanitary Landfill would eliminate risks of spills, impacts, and traffic associated with trucking leachate offsite for disposal.  

The air quality plan approval establishes emissions limitations and monitoring requirements. DEP is currently reviewing a waste permit modification application, which, if approved, would authorize the use of the evaporator system for the treatment of the landfill’s leachate. 

Both the plan approval and waste permit modification must be obtained before operation.   

The approved leachate treatment and evaporation system includes extensive pre-treatment of the leachate. The evaporator will include a three-stage demisting filtration system with a 99% removal efficiency of filterable particulate matter. 

The air quality plan approval also includes numerous measures to monitor pollutants that may be emitted through the evaporation process and/or present in the leachate and assure compliance with emission limitations.  

Modeling and calculations using accepted scientific methods show any radionuclides emitted into the air will not pose a health risk. Radiation monitors will be placed in six onsite locations and will measure 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and be analyzed regularly. 

The plan approval also requires that a third-party conduct an audit inspection of the leachate pre-treatment and evaporation system every 12 months. Audits would include a full system inspection, cleaning, instrument calibration, training of operating staff, operator certification, and system restoration as needed.   

On Nov. 1, DEP executed a consent order and agreement that also requires Westmoreland Sanitary Landfill to take extensive proactive measures to detect, correct, and prevent future violations. 

Supporting documents as well as additional permitting and compliance information are available on the DEP’s community information webpage for Westmoreland Sanitary Landfill

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