Marcellus Shale Gas Wastes A Mixed Landfill Blessing

Marcellus Shale Gas Wastes A Mixed Landfill Blessing

NY and PA gas drilling wastes boomed landfill revenues and headaches.

"The Marcellus play has been good for the landfill business," says Jay Alexander, general manager of the Wayne Township Landfill. But as Larry Shilling, regional vice president of Casella Waste Systems, adds, "The wastes are not without their challenges."

Both will be speakers during a May 19 web-based seminar on May 19, presented by Penn State Extension. "The Impacts of the Natural Gas Industry on Landfill Operations," will start at 1 p.m.

Casella operates 10 landfills in the Marcellus play, three of which are in New York. The company is trying to come to grips with the challenges associated with solid waste drill cuttings and liquids leaching from them.

The gas industry brought plant trash, drill cuttings and liquid wastes into the market. And as Shilling notes, it has enabled the updating of $5 million worth of new equipment out of cash flow.

Alexander noted that his company also has been able to purchase surrounding properties that were targeted for long-term growth of its landfill. "That's all spending that puts money into local pockets by creating additional jobs," he says. "We've seen an increased workload for local hauling contractors, with six to eight of them working daily with our landfill, hauling waste for the gas industry. And with the increase in materials, we've seen the income for our recycling operations rise."

But, Alexander concedes, with the added business and profit come a few negatives, which he will address during the webinar. "We have to deal with and control greatly increased truck traffic. The added materials have reduced landfill gas production. We have increased leachate generation. And, we have additional odor concerns."

The May 19 online Webinar addresses opportunities and concerns. Registration details are on the webinar page of Penn State Extension's natural-gas website: http://extension.psu.edu/naturalgas/webinars.

Previous webinars, publications and information on topics such as water use and quality, zoning, gas-leasing considerations for landowners, and implications for local communities also are available at: http://extension.psu.edu/naturalgas.

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