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Dunn Landfill - 2019 Air Monitoring Data

Background descriptions on the monitoring sites and pollutants and results from 2020 monitoring can be found on the Dunn Landfill Air Quality Study page.

Hydrogen Sulfide

Over the monitoring period of April 4 - November 21, 2019, H2S measurements were collected from five locations around Dunn Landfill (Figure 1). The number of occurrences when H2S has been detected has been very low (less than 1% of the measurements) and predominantly during late evening and early morning hours when the landfill was closed. During these periods of time winds are calm, and other conditions are sometimes present which can keep pollutants close to the ground. There have been a few dates when the monitors measured H2S above 0.010 ppm for consecutive 10-minute readings. A summary for each of the sampling locations follows:

  • Cemetery: 0.29% (88 of 30,325 observations) of the readings detected H2S and the maximum 10-minute reading was 0.050 ppm
  • Soccer Field: 0.31% (96 of 31,323 observations) of the readings detected H2S and the maximum 10-minute reading was 0.052 ppm
  • Baseball Field:0.86% (268 of 31,333 observations) of the readings detected H2S and the maximum 10-minute reading was 0.420 ppm
  • Garden Place: 0.24% (28 of 11,850 observations) of the readings detected H2S and the maximum 10-minute reading was 0.009 ppm
  • 9th Street: 0.011% (2 of 18,141 observations) of the readings detected H2S and the maximum 10-minute reading was 0.003 ppm - monitor moved on August 14 to Garden Place

H2S was detected at the cemetery and soccer and baseball field sampling locations. Most of the detects occurred at the baseball field sampling location, which is close to and downwind of the landfill. The predominant wind direction for the area is south to north. The H2S air sampling results indicate that the landfill is a source of sporadic but noticeable odors. These odors may trigger temporary symptoms in some people, such as headache, nausea and throat irritation, but the levels detected are highly unlikely to result in long term health effects. All H2S monitors were removed on November 12, 2019 because the instruments do not operate well when outside temperatures are below freezing. H2S monitoring resumed on April 6, 2020.

On August 14, 2019, the monitor at 9th Street H2S was moved to Hollow Park near Garden Place which is where several odor complaints have been made by the public. H2S was detected only twice (at the lowest level of detection 0.003 ppm) in a four-month period at the 9th Street monitor location.

Locations of 2019 H2S monitors in relation to the Dunn Landfill

Figure 1. Map of 2019 Sampling Locations

Dust/Particulate Monitoring

As noted in Figure 2, both monitors were below the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for PM10, which is 150 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) for a 24-hour average (daily).

On September 19, 21 and 22, PM10 concentrations increased at the Rensselaer City School above concentrations measured at the Albany County Health Department. The increases may have been due to traffic related to school athletic events, lawn maintenance, or dust moving offsite from activities at the landfill. From December 23-24, 2019, PM10 concentrations in the Albany and Rensselaer area were elevated due to weather conditions where warm air above a layer of cold air (called weather inversions) traps air pollutants. Salt, applied to roads during winter weather, and road dust becomes airborne and raises PM10 concentrations during weather inversions.

On November 23, there was a loss of power at the PM10 Dunn Landfill instrument. Power was fully restored on December 4. The instrument was turned off for a few days later in December due to extremely cold temperatures.

2020 PM10 levels at Albany County Health Department and Dunn Landfill
Figure 2. Particulate Matter (PM10) Daily Averages July 27 to December 31, 2019