Alpha Ridge Landfill Gas-To-Energy Project

Information current as of 9-12-2016

Schedule and Completed Efforts

Every 8,760 operating hours or three years, whichever comes first - The engine emissions will be retested for combustion parameters based on the permit requirements.

Spring 2014

December 2013

    An independent contractor conducted an emission test of the engine for Polychlorinated Dibenzo-P-Dioxins and Polychlorinated Dibenzo-Furans - Also known as “Dioxins”, and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).

July 2013

May 2013

    An independent contractor conducted an emission test of the engine for dioxins and VOCs.

December 2012

November 2012

  • An independent contractor conducted an emission test of the engine for dioxins and VOCs.

September 21, 2012

  • Landfill gas to energy went online for electricity production.

May 2012

  • Start up and commissioning activities began and continued through July including air permit required emission testing.

March 2012

January 2012

  • An independent contractor conducted an emission test of the current landfill gas flare for dioxins and VOCs. (see pictures).
  • An independent contractor conducted an influent test (landfill gas going to flare) for VOCs and mercury.
  • The Bureau of Environmental Services provided recommendations responding to the concerns of the residents on the project and generator operations.
  • ARL Gas to Energy Project Update January 25, 2012


Alpha Ridge Landfill opened in May 1980. Muncipial Solid Waste (trash) buried in a landfill generates landfill gas as it decomposes. In 1999, the County voluntarily installed a landfill gas collection and flare system to protect the environment, prevent odors, prevent migration of landfill gas and protect the geomembrane cap over the closed landfill cell. While the operation of the existing landfill gas flare meets the objectives, the County had been searching for alternate uses of its landfill gas.

After a competitive bid process, the County hired Pepco Energy Services to design and build a landfill gas to energy system. Similar to the existing landfill gas flare, the landfill gas to energy system will protect the environment by controlling methane (a greenhouse gas). In addition, it will offset the use of non-renewable energy resources. The electricity generated will be used to power the landfill gas to energy system itself, the existing landfill gas collection and flare system, and a new vehicle charging station. The balance of electricity generated will be sold on the PJM regional transmission grid to offset some of the landfill operational costs.

At a public hearing in October 2011 for the air permit to construct, attendees asked many questions about the generator system. Because of the format of the meeting, neither the County nor Maryland Department of Environment were prepared to answer the detailed nature of the questions. The following link provides a document that answers many of the raised questions. Newsletter, November 2011

Information Night

Howard County Bureau of Environmental Services held an information night to allow residents to a speak with and ask questions of County staff about the Alpha Ridge Landfill and the Gas to Energy Generator to be constructed. Representatives were also available to discuss recycling, composting and the widening of Marriottsville Road.

The following handouts were given:

Additional Information

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