Sunday was a beautiful day in Niskayuna, so after going to campus to deal with some paperwork, I went off to a park to take some pictures. There's a town park down on River Road that sits on a high and scenic bluff above the Mohawk, so I figured I'd give that a look. And, indeed, the view of the river is pretty.
But there are also these:
That's a fat piece of PVC pipe, painted bright green, rising about 7-8' from the ground. And there are a couple dozen of these dotting the hillside in the park.
I don't really have a clue what these could be for, but none of the thoughts I do have are particularly good. One is that there's something buried under the hill that needs ventilation, and given that this is just down the road from GE's research labs and a DoE-funded nuclear power research lab, I don't like to think about what they might've used as landfill back in the day.
And, of course, the other obvious choice is that I've somehow landed in an episode of The Prisoner, because these really do have a cheesy British sci-fi sort of vibe...
Doing a Google Maps Search on River Road, Niskayuna NY finds a point on River Road bordering Blatnick Park. Blatnick Park appears to be on the edge of the Niskayuna Town Landfill.
Is that where you are?
There is one of these at the old landfill in my town. As stuff decays in the landfill, gases build up, most likely CO2 and methane. The latter can be nasty if it builds up enough pressure to burst the landfill lining (which would cause some of the nasty liquid stuff in the landfill to escape as well), so they would rather release it gradually.
They could also be vacuum breakers for a water pipeline, but given how closely they are spaced landfill vents do seem more likely.
In some places, the vents are tied to a collection system and, depending on the mix of gasses,used for power generation (ex: Monmouth, NJ) or compressed and stored for other uses or sequestration. In the end, we and up with primarily CO2, water, and H2SO4 in the atmosphere, but if we can get useful work from the gas first, or at least control the rate and location of release, it is a help.
Don't listen to them. They release the giant balloons.
I grew up in Niskayuna, and Buddha Buck is right; it used to be the town landfill. The bike path used to make a rather steep detour around it, and it was rather smelly.