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Outdoors New wells tap more landfill gas at GEP

Altamont Environmental Project Engineer Paul Dow inspects casing before insertion into drilled landfill gas wells.The giant drilling machine owned by Quality Drilling of St. Paris Ohio bored into the clay cap of the old Dillsboro landfill probing for more landfill gas to supply the increasing needs of artisans at Jackson County’s Green Energy Park.

Supervised by Paul Dow, project engineer for Altamont Environmental of Asheville, this was only the first time that extensive excavation has been done at the landfill since the original dozen or so gas wells were drilled into the landfill in 2005.

“We’re drilling four new landfill gas extraction wells to a depth of 70 feet. We’ll also install the well heads and the tieins to the extraction system” said Dow as he checked a sample of of the trash detritus that had been brought up to the surface for the first time in over a decade.

Dow, along with Eric McGee of McGee Environmental, performed the initial drilling and installation of the gas system back in 2005. The county contracted with Altamont to drill these new wells to maximize the flow of landfill gas for the needs of the Green Energy Park.

Scott Moseley, a rig hand with Quality Drilling, looked on as the well drilling machine brought up pick-up bed-sized mounds of trash to the surface. “I’ve worked on oil rigs in Pennsylvania and Ohio and this type of drilling is pretty straight forward. Once we’re finished these wells will pump out the gas.”

Altamont Environmental’s Paul Dow and the GEP’s Timm Muth discuss drilling of new wells at Dillsboro landfill.Timm Muth, Director of the Green Energy Park, responding to why drilling these new wells was necessary said, “It’s important because it will allow us to maximize our gas supply here at the GEP. We’ll be able to run all of our equipment at the same time and have more artists working at the GEP creating beautiful works of art which helps to attract tourists to Jackson County—a win-win for all of us.”

Jackson County accepted a bid of $33,000 from Altamont to drill these new wells several months ago. Decreasing gas flow from several of the original wells indicated that the HDPE (high density polyethylene) well casings had become clogged with sediment and new wells needed to be drilled to use the continually generating gas coming from the landfill.

Muth said, “If we didn’t drill these wells the landfill gas could migrate into the ground water. The Green Energy Park mission is about local job creation and Ecotourism and this landfill gas powers that at a minimum investment for a sizable return.”

The Jackson County Green Energy Park is an award-winning, community-scale landfill gas project located in Dillsboro, NC, that uses landfill gas and other renewable energy resources to provide fuel for blacksmith forges and foundry, glassblowing studios, and greenhouses.

For more information, visit www.jcgep.org.


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