RNM Exco briefed on innovative ways to operate the Oatlands landfill site

RNM Exco briefed on innovative ways to operate the Oatlands landfill site

By Johan Pretorius

The Ray Nkonyeni’s Department of Community Services has proposed new methods of operating the Oatlands landfill site in Ramsgate, against the background of a financial analysis report for the site over the past two financial years.  At the RNM Exco meeting on Tuesday, a presentation by the DCS pointed out that the site was recently licenced under the new Waste Management Regulations of 2014, which came with stringent measures of protecting the environment by developing new cells.  The presentation focused on financial expenditure in 2015/16 and 2016/17 versus the required future commitment in the projection of the engineer’s calculation .

The Oatlands Landfill site is an original development by the Ugu District Municipality, and was taken over by the then Hibiscus Coast Municipality in 1994.  The site serves the whole of the Ray Nkonyeni area and some other local councils forming part of Bizana  ( Wild Coast Sun).  The presentation pointed out that a mandatory physical separation between the waste and the surface and ground water regimes, as well as an effective surface water drainage system, are fundamental to all landfill designs.  Landfills produce significant leachate, and particular attention must be paid to leachate management.  Any cover excavations must be planned to ensure an adequate separation between waste and the ground water regime once the soil has been removed.

The site receives approximately 35 000 tonnes of municipal solid waste from municipal collection and private vehicles per annum.  The licensed site is classified as class B, and has the potential to be a regional site for up to 25 years. Initiatives taken to control pollution include the following:  ring-fencing equipment diverting storm-water from leachate, monitoring the pump-system that pumps leachate for recirculation on a 24 hour cycle, SASS study was conducted on the stream to determine life in the Ibilanhlolo stream leading to the Ramsgate Blue Flag Beach, a waste license was issued by the Provincial Department of Environmental Affairs, and a cell with airspace for 18 months from December 2015 has been constructed.

The presentation says current airspace extends to July 2017.  It must be increased by extending cell 4 further, and it takes about 18 months to complete the design, procurement and construction process.  Leachate is being recirculated on the site, and this is not sustainable in that the volume of leachate is increasing and the stability of the site could be compromised.  To reduce the volume a treatment plant is proposed, and the position of a new borehole has been identified.  The next steps should be to increase airspace by raising the liner in Cell 4, the planning for the leachate treatment plant must proceed and the plant constructed as soon as possible after approval has been received.  ZA quote must be obtained to install the additional borehole.  Funds must be provided for the drainage layer on Cells 1 and 2.

The financial commitments to date are R5.7 million allocated in 2015/16 for the establishment of phase 4B which lasted for 18 months.  For 2016/17 R3.5 million was allocated for phase 4B envisaged to produce a lifespan of 3 years, subject to final calculations by engineers.  In two financial years almost R10 m has been spent on the landfill site which equates to a lifespan of four and a half years.

The Department’s conclusion was that a public private partnership is the feasible option worth exploring in order to transfer financial risk to the private party. A feasibility study will enable council to take an informed decision based on scientific and properly researched information, and not biased towards an individual service provider.  A partnership with the Development Bank of South Africa will lead to the appointment of an adviser and also the process of calling for proposals from prospective innovative private institutions.

The council noted the financial report, and the proposed suitable method of operating the landfill site in future.

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