The City of Berkeley’s Department of Public Works, which is responsible for the landfill gas flare station in the park, today issued a response to complaints made by this blog and by two Berkeley residents who witnessed flames, smoke and odor coming out of the top of the leaning rusty stack (see http://chavezpark.org/flare-station-malfunction-spews-flames-smoke-stink/) :
Thank you for alerting us of the status of the landfill methane flare operation observed on Friday, January 8th. We would first like to apologize for any discomfort this may have caused you.
By way of background, the gas flaring equipment at Cesar Chavez Park is an environmental control system required under local and state regulations for control of air emissions and greenhouse gases at closed landfills. As you may know, there is a current project to replace the flare station at Cesar Chavez Park, which is scheduled to be completed in spring 2016. Part of this project includes replacement of components of the wellfield, which in combination with the flare replacement is expected to allow the system to run more efficiently. During the project, there may be occasional, intermittent operational issues during programmed daily flare equipment on/off cycles. These cycles are currently allowed by permit. In order to mitigate actual or potential nuisance issues, the project team will be adjusting and improving the programming by incorporating new information, such as the data acquired from last Friday. Once the reprogramming is complete, it is expected that observable emissions will be greatly reduced.
We appreciate your patience with us as we work on making the park an enjoyable place to be while still complying with our legal environmental obligations. Please feel free to contact me directly should you have any additional questions. Thank you.