Ticking boxes to comply with landfills
As South Africa’s population continues to grow, landfills need to become more efficient to manage the increasing volume of waste. Meeting this demand is no easy feat for those wanting to build and operate landfills.
Johan van den Berg, Averda South Africa’s MD, shares seven tips to help landfill operators run compliant facilities, minimise environmental harm and manage waste efficiently.
Establishing the purpose
Firstly, the landfill must be approved by the national Department of Water & Sanitation (DWS) and the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA). The purpose of the landfill must be focused and needs to determine the type of waste, estimated volumes and expected life cycle.
Balancing environmental and social impact with location suitability
One of the most important aspects of establishing a landfill facility is choosing a site. Social and environmental impact assessments have to be completed and the needs of the surrounding environment and population must be carefully considered.
Working with the local municipality and stakeholders that will be affected by the site allows for a better understanding of future development plans of the municipality. An understanding of the community’s needs guides the possibilities for the expansion or, if necessary, the winding down of the facility.
Assessing development, building and maintenance costs
The operator needs to consider the long-term building, management and rehabilitation costs of the project, as well as revenue projection. Contingency costs are also factored in so as to anticipate changes in the regulatory, economic and social environments.
Providing ground-covering that adheres to safety regulations
The facility must be adequately equipped with the correct containment barriers in line with DEA specifications for each class of landfill. These specifications can be found in Chapter 2 of the National Norms and Standards for Disposal of Waste to Landfill regulations in the Government Gazette, August 23, 2013.
Assessing waste before it enters the facility
The operator needs to be rigorous in ensuring that the correct waste enters the landfill. Assessment should include the identification of chemical substances present in the waste material.
Avoiding toxic waste
Certain types of waste, such as explosive, flammable and corrosive materials, are prohibited from being disposed of in South African landfills. These materials must be disposed of in line with manufacturer instructions or DEA regulations.
Appling the best treatment methods
Waste treatment facilities need to be equipped with the best available technology to reduce toxicity levels in waste deposits.
Ticking these important compliance boxes will mean a successful landfill site that serves and protects society while managing waste efficiently.