Methane (CH4) diffuse emissions from Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) landfills represent one of the most important anthropogenic sources of greenhouse gas. CH4 is produced by anaerobic biodegradation of organic matter in landfilled MSW and constitutes a major component of landfill gas (LFG). Gas recovery is a suitable method to effectively control CH4 emissions from landfill sites and the quantification of CH4 emissions represents a good tool to evaluate the effectiveness of a gas recovery system in reducing LFG emissions. In particular, LFG emissions can indirectly be evaluated from mass balance equations between LFG production, recovery and oxidation in the landfill, as well as by a direct approach based on LFG emission measurements from the landfill surface. However, up to now few direct measurements of landfill CH4 diffuse emissions have been reported in the technical literature. In the present study, both modeling and direct emission measuring methodologies have been applied to the case study of Bellolampo landfill located in Palermo, Italy. The main aim of the present study was to evaluate CH4 diffuse emissions, based on direct measurements carried out with the flux accumulation chamber (static, non-stationary) method, as well as to obtain the CH4 contoured flux map of the landfill. Such emissions were compared with the estimate achieved by means of CH4 mass balance equations. The results showed that the emissions obtained by applying the flux chamber method are in good agreement with the ones derived by the application of the mass balance equation, and that the evaluated contoured flux maps represent a reliable tool to locate areas with abnormal emissions in order to optimize the gas recovery system efficiency.
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