Saturday, May 25, 2024

Central Coast landfill cell wins IPWEA environmental award


Central Coast Council’s $9 million landfill cell has won an Environmental Enhancement Project Award at the 2023 NSW & ACT Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) Engineering Excellence Awards. 

Designing for the new cell at the Buttonderry Waste Management Facility commenced in June 2019, with construction completed in August 2022.

Council undertook the construction of the new cell as Council’s existing landfill cell, constructed in 2013, was reaching its end of life. The new modern engineered landfill cell – approximately five hectares, or seven football fields, in size – has been built to meet the community’s waste disposal needs for approximately the next 4.5 years.

Council’s Unit Manager Waste and Resource Recovery, Andrew Pearce said the Award was testament to the commitment of Council to not only provide a facility for the community’s waste disposal needs but is also an example of best practice and the successful collaboration between council operational staff and contractors, given the works were carried out within an active waste management facility.

“Council’s team, together with our contractors, faced many challenges during the project including Covid-19 impacts to contractor staff, higher than average wet weather and two significant natural disaster events, but have succeeded in delivering the project on time, on budget and meeting expectations,” Mr Pearce said.

“However, while the new Cell has enormous capacity and is needed as an important facility for the community, Council also wants the community to be aware of alternatives in reducing waste.

“Council, through its Resource Management Strategy, wants to educate the community to look at alternative ways of avoiding the generation of waste and to recycle and repurpose wherever possible.

“Actions like sorting your waste and putting the right items in the right bins, using reusable containers, finding other use for items, donating to charity, selling or gift it – there are many quite practical and simple ways of reducing waste in landfill.

“You can also take your steel, cardboard, E-waste, batteries, motor oil, florescent lights to our waste management facilities for free.  Council also facilitates household Chemical CleanOut days every year.”

Mr Pearce said the new cell design sought to maximise the selected void space while working within site constraints which included proximity of groundwater, riparian zones, boundary geometry, high voltage power lines, neighbouring organics processing facility, and potential future undermining from longwall coal mining operations.  

“This project was challenging on many levels, with the priority always to ensure the new cell met all environmental requirements and community expectations,” he said.

Works on the project included:

  • The excavation and stockpiling of around 415,000 m3 of soil and rock;
  • The installation of three engineered leachate barrier liners totalling 153,000 m2 designed to protect the environment. These are a geosynthetic clay liner, high density polyethylene liner, and a cushion geotextile;
  • Placement of 20,000 tonnes of leachate gravel, 1.8km of leachate collection pipelines, and a leachate pumping station;
  • Access roads, stormwater management infrastructure, electrical poles / lines, and litter fencing.

“The cell has a total airspace of 820,000 m3 which is the equivalent to 430 Olympic sized swimming pools.  However as already noted, the best outcome would be that this cell is never filled. Rather, we want to work with the community to reduce waste in landfill.”

Council Administrator, Rik Hart said the Award was a significant achievement for Council.

“The construction and delivery of the new Buttonderry cell, is an important achievement as it ticks off a major project by Council, as well as delivering an important essential service for the community,” he said.

Mr Hart added the project was fully funded by Council from revenue received in prior years from the operation of Councils waste management facilities.

“The community have made it very clear to Council that they want us to focus on managing waste in the environment, and we are listening and acting by introducing new recycling and waste management initiatives and processes, using new technology and partnering with other stakeholders.”

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