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WNC Air Quality News

Standing Ovation Awards - January 2009

In 2003, the Western North Carolina Regional Air Quality Agency (WNCRAQA) began a recognition program to reward regulated entities who stay in compliance with federal, state and local air quality rules. In 2004, the program was expanded to further recognize local businesses and other organizations that have gone above and beyond air quality rules and regulations to implement voluntary, innovative programs that will reduce air pollution in our region. We are pleased to announce the recipient of the sixth-annual Air Quality Standing Ovation Awards.

This year, WNCRAQA is presenting the Standing Ovation award to Asheville Landfill Gas, LLC (Asheville Landfill Gas). Asheville Landfill Gas partnered with Buncombe County over 10 years ago to voluntarily collect methane gas at the old landfill on Riverside Drive and pipe it to the Metropolitan Sewerage District of Buncombe County to fuel 2 generators that produced power for some of the District's waste water operations. Today, Asheville Landfill Gas operates a 988 kW generator designed with a combined heat and power (CHP) unit that has the capability to heat water for proposed new UNC Asheville facilities at that site. The generator, installed in 2006, was the first landfill gas to energy project to participate in the North Carolina Green Power (NCGP) Program. It currently provides enough renewable energy to the electric grid to power approximately 800 homes. The collection system and generator substantially reduce methane emissions from the landfill. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that is 21 times as harmful to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Over the past 12 years, the project has removed over a million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent green house gas emissions from the atmosphere! Each year, the system prevents emissions of over 2,500 tons of methane and also results in emissions reductions of several hazardous air pollutants. The environmental benefits of the methane reductions are equivalent to removing 11,397 cars from area roads each year. Additionally, the gas capture and control system actively removes pollutants from the landfill, which reduces the potential for groundwater contamination, gas migration, damage to vegetation, and odors.

More information about the Buncombe County landfill gas project and NCGP is available on the NCGP website at