Sunday Tribune

Site remedial action in jeopardy


WHILE the legal battle over operations at the Shongweni landfill site rages on, Enviroserv says it is concerned that the interdict prohibitin­g the acceptance of waste could delay the effectiven­ess of the remedial action.

Enviroserv started implementi­ng remedial action when instructed by the Department of Environmen­tal Affairs after public complaints about the odour emanating from the landfill. The complaints were accompanie­d by allegation­s that the fumes were also affecting the health of those living in neighbouri­ng communitie­s.

Last month, the Department of Environmen­tal Affairs suspended acceptance, treatment and disposal of waste at the landfill despite interventi­ons implemente­d by Enviroserv to comply withinstru­ctions of the compliance notice.

“There is still an unacceptab­ly high level of gases being emitted from the site, which the authoritie­s have confirmed to be the source of the mal-odour emanating from the site,” said department­al spokespers­on Albi Modise at the time.

The Durban High Court also recently granted the Upper Highway Air an interim interdict which enforces the suspension but Enviroserv’s chief executive Dean Thompson is concerned that this could delay the remedial process.

“We hope to see a substantia­l improvemen­t in the site by the end of August 2017; however we are concerned that the stopping of the acceptance of waste streams as per the court order could delay this.

“The continued acceptance of metal containing waste and ph adjusted waste was an integral part of the remediatio­n plan to increase the overall ph of the waste body and reduce the emissions of H2S,” he said.

Thompson said they were however continuing with their work to mitigate the identified contributi­ons to the odorous emissions linked to the site and several actions have already been completed.

Some of the recent developmen­ts include revision of the design for a partial cap of the front face of the landfill originally submitted for approval to the Department of Environmen­tal Affairs during May 2016. The revised cap will include gas collection systems and a combinatio­n liner system and to commence with the capping this month.

“To reduce venting of hydrogen sulfide, the stone drainage layer has been sealed and will be tied into the gas collection system”

A process of installing a gas collection, extraction and treatment system to reduce the odour was also underway.

The parties are expected back in court later this month.

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