How does landfill gas move?
Once gases are produced under the landfill surface, they generally move away from the landfill. Gases tend to expand and fill the available space, so that they move, or “migrate,” through the limited pore spaces within the refuse and soils covering of the landfill. The natural tendency of landfill gases that are lighter than air, such as methane, is to move upward, usually through the landfill surface. Upward movement of landfill gas can be inhibited by densely compacted waste or landfill cover material (e.g., by daily soil cover and caps). When upward movement is inhibited, the gas tends to migrate horizontally to other areas within the landfill or to areas outside the landfill, where it can resume its upward path. Basically, the gases follow the path of least resistance. Some gases, such as carbon dioxide, are denser than air and will collect in subsurface areas, such as utility corridors. Three main factors influence the migration of landfill gases: diffusion (concentration), pressu