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No longer wasted? Deschutes County seeks proposals to use gas created by Knott Landfill’s trash

May create power, natural gas in 'win-win' for county, developer and environment; landfill expected to fill by 2029

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A new project seeking proposals for Deschutes County's Knott Landfill in southeast Bend could result in a win-win situation for the county, landfill users and the environment.

Waste in a landfill produces natural gas. For safety reasons, that gas at Knott is collected and burned every day in a flare.

But there may be another option to take that gas and turn it into renewable natural gas or electricity.

Deschutes County's Department of Solid Waste said Wednesday it is seeking proposals for a developer to implement a project for beneficial use of landfill gas produced at the nearly 50-year-old landfill.

Department Interim Director Chad Centola says the situation at the landfill is comparable to oil on an un-tapped property.

"If you lived in Oklahoma and had oil on your property, somebody would come knocking on your door and pay a royalty and pay you for it," Centola said. "We have gas out here that right now we're just burning off -- that we're not getting much beneficial use out of."

"And there are developers out there that are in the business to market that and price it off-site," He added.

There are two natural pipelines off-site of the landfill that stretch from Canada to California, and Central Electric Cooperative is right next door, making the landfill an already optimal location for renewable energy.

"A project like this could forego a rate increase for a couple years -- that way the county does get some indirect financial benefit," Centola told NewsChannel 21 on Wednesday.

Knott Landfill is expected to reach capacity in 2029, having expanded in several phases over the decades at the site off Southeast 27th Street.

Even though the landfill will eventually reach capacity, the trash will still be there -- constantly producing gas. That gas has to go somewhere, regardless of whether new waste is added or not.

"I think the biggest thing here is the environmental aspect of it," Centola said. "We're making something good out of the landfill here."

Centola said it's the earliest stage of the project, with a request for proposals by a Jan. 19 submission deadline.

The county will review developers' proposals and examine various aspects to determine which company would be the best fit for the project. Centola estimated the project wouldn't be completed for another two years.

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Carly Keenan

Carly Keenan is a multimedia journalist and producer for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Carly here.



    1. Now thats a thought. Or just let them pitch their tents and RV’s there. The $64000 question is where the next landfill will go. You can bet this will be a nightmare!!

    1. Pre-existing uses still have to follow some rules. Not to mention, I remember the argument was “we’ve put up with all the trucks, noise etc. as neighbors for decades- someone else’s turn!”
      America… the right to protest. Don’t always get your way, of course, but compromises are possible.
      We’ll see.

      1. ““we’ve put up with all the trucks, noise etc. as neighbors for decades- someone else’s turn!””

        The complete lack of logic in that argument is terrifying. And thats not a shot at you Barney, just saying people who actually think that way are wayy off base.

        1. Thanks for differentiating. It’s just what I remember from all those years ago.
          BTW, it reminds me of another line I came up with covering endless county meetings years ago: “Would you please pay more attention to us – and leave us the hell alone?”

  1. I think the important point of the story was that the landfill is making methane all the time. Irregardless of whether or not it is tapped. ( and Irregardless of whether or not new garbage is added to it.)

    1. How os the use of renewable methane gas not pertinent in this day and age of alternative energy pursuits. Your comment does not compute irregarlessly🤠

  2. It’s methane. A natural gas. A close link to fossil fuels. the Democrats will protest it’s use. I say link it to the natural gas lines and use it for fuel.

  3. Great idea,but has been tried at Clackamas ladfill near Oregon City in the 80’s and didnt work,to this day nothing has been done to use the gas as far as I know,just gets burnt

    1. A person would wonder if technology has advanced since the 80s? Smaller, thinner computers that fit in your hand, and you use them as phones, bigger thinner TV’s, electric car’s, what else has changed? Hmmmmmmm?

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