Freeborn & Peters Helps Sniffer Robotics Achieve Groundbreaking EPA Approval on New Landfill Gas Monitoring Test Method

CHICAGO – Freeborn & Peters LLP is pleased to have advised emissions testing technology company, Sniffer Robotics, in securing U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approval for a revolutionary landfill methane gas monitoring test method. The new method, which meets EPA’s requirements for quarterly testing of municipal solid waste landfills, provides actionable information through an automated unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)- based solution, replacing the traditional time- and resource-intensive test method. With today’s EPA approval, Sniffer’s method is effective immediately for compliance use.

Sniffer developed the alternate test method to more efficiently, affordably, and safely satisfy EPA’s requirement that municipal solid waste landfills subject to the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) and National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for Municipal Solid Waste Landfills monitor methane concentrations at a landfill surface on a quarterly basis. The traditional surface emissions monitoring (SEM) test method consists of an operator walking a landfill and carrying a detector along paths separated by 30 meters. 

“To inspect the average 100-acre landfill in accordance with current regulations on foot posed concerning practical challenges, from both a safety and performance standpoint,” said Freeborn & Peters partner Ann Zwick, who guided Sniffer through the complexities of the EPA approval process. “This new approach to SEM is a real game-changer, as it produces results to determine compliance while providing better precision and control of the operation. It also greatly reduces the operator safety risks inherent in currently deployed SEM procedures.”

Sniffer’s UAV SEM test method provides several meaningful improvements over the existing industry standard procedure, including increased operator safety, and a more precise and repeatable operation that is more comprehensive in finding methane leaks resulting in emissions. The UAV also captures geospatial data using analytics and management tools that provide site owners with the ability to be proactive about compliance.

The EPA may review and approve alternative test methods if certain stringent and quantifiable criteria are met. Freeborn & Peters assisted Sniffer in requesting approval as a broadly applicable alternative test method to permit the use of Sniffer’s UAV SEM procedure as an alternative to the traditional SEM procedure at any municipal solid waste landfill. 

This news was featured by Law360 Pulse's Spotlight On Mid-Law Work on January 13th.