Mother Lode Chapter A&WMA

Events & News

22 SEP 2011

Dinner Meeting:  Organic Waste Diversion from Landfills


  • Patrick Sullivan, SCS Engineers
  • Paul Miller, Environmental Science Associates


Pat Sullivan Presentation – There appears to be increased interest in organic waste diversion from landfills across the United States.  One of the areas of predicted benefit from the diversion and recycling of organic waste is reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from displaced landfill methane emissions and other indirect emission reduction benefits.  However, there have been very few studies to document and confirm that these benefits are real and achievable as well as within the operational control of the entity conducting the waste diversion.  In addition, while GHG reductions are claimed for these organic diversion measures, reductions in GHGs could come at the expense of increases in criteria and/or toxic pollutant emissions.  As such, any analysis of GHG benefits must include an ancillary analysis of any peripheral criteria and/or toxic pollutant impacts or benefits.
This talk will provide a comparison of various landfilling and organic diversion options in terms of both GHG and criteria/toxic air pollutant benefits and impacts.  The talk will summarize a quantitative analysis of the management of the equivalent amount of organic waste under the following landfilling and diversion options:
  • Landfilling without landfill gas (LFG) collection
  • Landfilling with LFG collection and flaring
  • Landfilling with LFG collection and energy recovery
  • Open windrow composting without controls
  • Composting using aerated static piles (ASP)
  • Composting with ASP, controlled enclosure, and biofilter
  • In-vessel anaerobic digestion with energy recovery
  • Biomass to energy through direct combustion
  • Use of organic waste as alternative daily cover (ADC) at a landfill
Mr. Sullivan has over 22 years of experience in the area of environmental engineering, specializing in air quality and GHG issues for solid waste management facilities.  He is a Certified Permitting Professional within the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) and a Registered Environmental Assessor in the State of California.  He is also the Chairman of the Rules and Regulations Committee of the Landfill Gas (LFG) Division of the Solid Waste Association of North American (SWANA), chairman of the Waste Industry Air Coalition (WIAC), and co-chairman of the Solid Waste Industry for Climate Solutions (SWICS).  Mr. Sullivan is also the Vice Chairman of the Mother Lode Chapter of the Air and Waste Management Association and is on the Executive Board of the California Biomass Collaborative.  He is also a Lead Verifier under the Climate Action Reserve and the Climate Registry voluntary GHG programs a well as under California Air Resources Board, AB 32 Mandatory Reporting GHG Program.
Paul Miller Presentation – Paul Miller is a managing associate at Environmental Science Associates (ESA).  He has been consulting on environmental topics for more than 30 years.  He is manager of ESA’s Renewable Resources Practice in the Central Valley Region (Sacramento office).  Mr. Miller will discuss recent California efforts related to anaerobic digestion facilities.
Mr. Miller recently completed management of two Program Environmental Impact Reports (EIRs) on the development of anaerobic digester facilities in California.  One Program EIR was for the California Department or Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) and analyzed anaerobic digester facilities for the treatment of municipal organic solid waste.  CalRecycle's primary program goal is the diversion of organic wastes from landfills.  The other Program EIR was for the Central Valley Water Board and analyzed dairy manure digester and co-digester facilities in Region 5 (the Central Valley).  The dairy manure digester and co-digester facilities can improve air quality and water quality, divert organic materials from landfills, and provide new revenue sources for dairies.

Who should attend?

This event is organized by the Mother Lode Chapter of the Air and Waste Management Association.  This event may be attended by students and their professors, and interested members and their colleagues.  We welcome representatives of regulatory agencies, academia, industry, community and environmental groups, and the consulting community.


If you any questions regarding this event, please contact Todd Sax at or (916) 229-0884.

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