Melville Landfill Site August Update

Please find below a response to members of the public regarding odour complaints from Lower Melville Wood landfill. This was sent out on Friday 31 July 2020.

Thank you for making SEPA aware of the offensive odour emanating from Lower Melville Wood landfill either last night or early this morning (31 July 2020). It is disappointing that the landfill is still giving off offensive odours, despite the plastic liner (Capping) being laid.

I have notified the site manager of the number of complaints received (13) last night and early this morning.

The site manager informed me that he detected a strong landfill gas odour on the A92 at 07:30 on 31 July 2020. He then carried out an odour assessment to the west of the site. A faint odour was detected in the Giffordtown area. I did also receive five notifications regarding offensive odours in the Auchtermuchty area. 

The capping crew are on the site today laying a geotextile clay liner (GCL) over the plastic liner, which should prevent the further escape of landfill gas from the lined area. The lining material consists of a clay layer which will swell up with any moisture to from a seal. During these works this morning, a tear in the plastic liner was detected. This was repaired immediately and the GCL has now been laid over this part of the cell.

Resource Efficient Solutions have a mobile flare on order, to burn off the landfill gas generated in the cell. This is expected today. As the additional liner is being laid, two of the gas boreholes have been disconnected from the gas collection system. The gas pipework has to be removed to allow the GCL to be laid. The removal of the pipework may have allowed landfill gas to escape, as no gas extraction pressure would be applied to that area. This may be the reason for the landfill gas escaping over the evening period. 

Due to meteorological conditions, the odour intensity may have increased and impacted on residents. Air pressure has decreased over the evening, pushing gas out of any leaks. The escaping gas has not risen into the air and mixed in the atmosphere. As a result, the gas has travelled along the ground depending on any wind and its direction.

A SEPA officer, who resides in Auchtermuchty, detected the gas this morning. They have informed me that the landfill gas escaping was offensive. The landfill gas had dissipated by 10:30 am.

As Scotland continues to reduce its risk to the Coronavirus, restrictions on SEPA staff movement will ease and normal operating practice can resume. SEPA appreciate the public’s support during this difficult period.   

If you want to inform SEPA of offensive odours from the site please email

Leave a Reply