About the Mitigation of Methane Emission Hot-spots from Municipal Landfills project


Launched in 2022, the Mitigation of Methane Emission Hot-spots from Municipal Landfills is a 5-year interdisciplinary research project at the University of Waterloo funded through Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Climate Action and Awareness Fund.

Led by an interdisciplinary team of researchers at the University of Waterloo, and collaborating with municipal partners, this project will advance methane emissions monitoring from Canadian landfills and improve the accuracy of greenhouse gas (GHG) concentration measurements over contemporary monitoring methods using state-of-the-art equipment and cutting-edge techniques. We will develop tools suited to climate conditions across Canada that municipalities can use to better monitor and reduce landfill emissions.


As an interdisciplinary research team, our mission is to provide new and innovative approaches to develop practical solutions that will help Canada achieve its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.

Goals & Objectives

Our overall project goal is to improve methane emissions monitoring and management at Canadian landfills with tools for reducing point-source emissions from cover soils.

The project’s three main objectives are to:

  1. Assess the contribution of landfill cover soil hot-spots on net GHG emissions, to close the knowledge gap around currently unmonitored emission sources.
  2. Develop methodologies and protocols for at-site monitoring of GHG emissions at municipal landfills to improve methane monitoring for landfills.
  3. Developing a toolkit to mitigate GHG hot-spot emissions from municipal landfills.

Outcomes & Impacts

The project’s anticipated outcomes include:

  1. Directly measuring and monitoring 10 landfills in southern Ontario to develop a framework for assessing the approximately 10,000 landfills in Canada.
  2. Accurately quantifying GHG emissions from diffuse landfill plumes to enable the consistent application of hyperspectral imaging technology in four key sectors (waste, oil and gas, agriculture, building) across Canada, and informing international approaches for methane monitoring.
  3. Recommendations for actions to reduce methane emissions and best practices for quantifying and mitigating the hidden methane emissions from Canadian landfills, applicable to 2,400 active landfills and useful for 7,500 closed landfills undergoing infrastructure improvements.

The project intends to generate meaningful impacts and long-terms outcomes to:

  1. Enhance understanding in municipal employees and industry experts of the current gaps in methane emissions estimates in landfills and opportunities to reliably measure GHG inventories and mitigate emissions through easy-to-implement solutions;
  2. Support evidence-based decisions at the municipal and federal levels for infrastructure upgrades or cover soil improvements at Canadian landfills to reduce methane emissions;
  3. Encourage innovation in Canadian landfills through advances in methane measurement monitoring techniques and an improved model for methane control;
  4. Maximize methane oxidation and capture at Canadian landfills for sustainable waste management and to help municipalities meet local and federal emission requirements.