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Detailed Project Information for:
Evaluation of Open-Path Spectroscopy Technologies for Determining Fugitive Gaseous Emissions at Landfills

Project Status
Project Description:

Open-path FTIR spectrometers, open-path tunable diode laser spectrometers, and open-path differential optical absorption spectrometers will be evaluated at two former landfills in Colorado. The evaluation will utilize a radial plume mapping technique that deploys the instruments in multiple-beam configurations. It will also test new software algorithms that plot contaminant fluxes in real time. The project will calculate methane and hazardous air pollutant fluxes, identify any hotspots, and produce plume maps for the contaminants detected.

Status of testing and/or field activities:


Results of testing and/or field activities:

The project created a new Optical Remote Sensing Facility Manual that contains standard operating procedures for the instruments and quality assurance measures that need to be performed. The software, which has capabilities to measure concentration data, generate surface concentration maps and downwind plume maps, and calculate emission fluxes in real time, was successfully deployed. The software also controls and logs data from all instrumentation used in the field and can be used for post-analysis of the data collected.

In addition a new guidance manual for evaluating landfill gas emissions from closed or abandoned facilities was developed. This manual presents two approaches for evaluating ambient air impacts of landfill emissions. The first is the more traditional method using survey instruments (PID and FID) combined with canister sampling and subsequent GC/MS analysis. The second method uses radial open path FTIR. There is a discussion of various models using data from the traditional approach followed by sampling and evaluation methods for subsurface migration of vapors. The subsurface migration discussion also covers indoor air intrusion issues. Finally, there is a section on stack sampling of gas emissions control equipment.


The project is complete. Products include:

Measurement of Fugitive Emissions at a Region I Landfill EPA-600/R-04-001

Evaluation of a Former Landfill Site in Fort Collins, Colorado Using Ground-Based Optical Remote Sensing Technology EPA-600/R-05/042

Evaluation of Fugitive Emissions at a Former Landfill Site in Colorado Springs, Colorado Using Ground-Based Optical Remote Sensing Technology EPA-600/R-05/041

A related product is:Guidance for Evaluating Landfill Gas Emissions From Closed or Abandoned Facilities EPA-600/R-05/123a

Project information available online?

Yes, view at

Primary Point of Contact Information
First Name: Susan
Last Name: Thorneloe
Organization: Research Triangle Park
Phone: 919-541-2709
Email: thorneloe.susan@epa.gov
Project information was last updated on August 8, 2006