Friday, May 20, 2011
Environment Agency Update on Gilberdyke Landfill Site
The following is the information I have received from the Environment Agency about the work they are doing at the Gilberdyke landfill site.
Across England and Wales, millions of tonnes of household and business waste end up in landfill.
The Environment Agency makes sure that landfill sites are meeting their high environmental standards and have a minimal impact on people and the environment.
Modern landfill sites are created to an agreed standard to minimise gases or polluting liquids being released. Polluting liquids – known as leachate – and landfill gases are extracted from the waste and need to be disposed of accordingly.
How we regulate the site
In the past, landfill sites had a mixture of modern areas and older areas where, the control of these gases and liquids were not to the current standard. Gilberdyke landfill site is one of these. The continued development of the site is in part based on improving the way the site operates.
Fortunately, because of the site’s location, there is a very low chance of any liquids being released into the ground, even from the older sections In 2006, we issued Gilberdyke landfill site with an environmental permit. The permit imposes a series of conditions aimed to minimise the risk to the environment from elements such as odour, dust and litter.
We regularly inspect the site to make sure that the operator is complying with the conditions of their permit. If we feel that conditions have not been met, we raise them with the operator to resolve. If these are not resolved to our satisfaction, we have a number of options we can use to make sure work is carried out.
There are a number of things that other organisations, such as the local authority, are responsible for at the site. These include:
• how many hours the site operates for;
• how many vehicles tip at the site;
• the access routes used to get to the site;
• the time limit for the life of the site;
• the final height of the site - this is determined by planning permission.
What we have being doing
The site has recently become busier than it has been in the last few years. This occurred at the same time as a change in ownership, with the new owner being Cityplant Ltd. This has coincided with an increase in the number of complaints we have received from local residents. Consequently, we have increased how often we inspect the site and have prioritised our efforts to ensure that they are operating correctly.
Below are examples of issues that we have dealt with recently:
• At the start of April, the operator disconnected the extraction system that removes odorous gas so that they could carry our engineering work. This may have been the source of some of the odours attributed to the site at the time. The system has now been reconnected and was also improved.
• A new fence has been erected at the top of the site to control litter during high winds. This is working well.
• There are now permanent litter pickers employed at the site to remove any litter that does blow away from the working area.
• Recent complaints about odour and litter may have been due to a shortage in materials that cover the waste during and at the end of the day. Consequently, the operator received a large amount of material that will cover the waste better. Because of such a large delivery, there was a short term increase in the number of vehicles going to the site. The operator is also planning to operate a narrow tipping area and cover waste repeatedly during the day to help control litter.
• The operator has used tankers to remove leachate from the site for disposal elsewhere. This has minimised the risk of water pollution or odours.
Work in the future
The operator has agreed to install a number of extraction wells to help minimise odour. This is planned for the autumn but will depend on the amount of waste coming onto site.
We are currently in discussions with the operator to investigate ways of minimising the odour before the full extraction as mentioned above.
We welcome any further information you may have relating to the landfill site. This will help us to ensure that the site is being operated correctly.
If you notice odours or litter from the site, please call our 24 hour incident line on 0800 80 70 60.
If you have any further questions about our role at Gilberdyke landfill please contact:
Tel: 01709 312 933