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Grand Jury Applauds Miramar Landfill's Methane-To-Energy Project

Bulldozers push around piles of trash at San Diego's Miramar Landfill.
Katie Orr
Bulldozers push around piles of trash at San Diego's Miramar Landfill.

The San Diego County Grand Jury is applauding the success of the methane-to-power conversion at the Miramar Landfill.

Captured methane gas from the Miramar landfill is generating nearly half the energy for the neighboring Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

The converted gas also provides energy to support landfill operations, and the remainder is sold to the local electric utility.


Methane from landfills accounts for approximately 22 percent of total U.S. methane emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The gas, created as waste decomposes, is composed of approximately 50 percent methane, 45 percent carbon dioxide (CO2) and small amounts of other organic compounds.

"If the methane generated by the Miramar Landfill were untapped and uncontrolled, the amount of methane released into the atmosphere would be approximately 33,277 metric tons per month," states the Grand Jury Report.

Grand Jury Foreman Paul Christian said reducing the landfill’s methane and CO2 emissions by 75 percent is a win for everyone.

"The great, close relationship between the city of San Diego and the Department of Defense to go ahead and lease this land to the city, and now we’re both getting benefits from that – basically garbage dump that in years past we would have never thought about reclaiming methane," Christian said.


Christian said the City of San Diego is projected to earn approximately $220,000 per year from the sale of the converted gas.

MCAS Miramar plans on being completely energy self-sufficient by 2017.