All landfills produce gas. The decomposition of the garbage dumped there sets off a chemical process that produces potentially many different kinds of gasses. If you live near a landfill-particularly near an older or still operating landfill-you should be concerned about whether the landfill’s gasses are negatively affecting your family’s safety.
The focus of this blog is landfill gas migrating below the surface. If not properly collected and treated, it can migrate away from the landfill via underground pipes, or the local soil composition (geology), if it is porous enough to allow the migration. Why is this underground gas migration a problem? Because these migrating underground gasses can be explosive, if trapped in confined spaces, such as a manhole, or the utility room, crawl space or basement of a nearby home. Methane is the gas to be concerned with here. It has been known to travel as far away from a landfill as a quarter mile or more, even almost three quarters of a mile in one landfill case in which I represented the local affected families.
If you are concerned about whether your landfill’s methane gas may be migrating to your neighborhood, please use this “Landfill Gas Explosion Hazard Checklist”, provided by the Agency for Toxic Substances Disease Registry (ATSDR), to help you figure out whether there is a legitimate concern, and, if so, what to do about it. https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/hac/landfill/html/ch3.html