Page 1

The official journal of the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa

Promoting integrated resources management


Vlakfontein A new cutting-edge facility

ISSN 1680-4902 R40.00 (incl VAT) • Vol 15, No 1, February 2013

National Composting strategy on the cards

Carbon tax

Is treasury ready for implementation?

Hazardous waste Composting of companion animal carcasses



Expanding horizons Expert Opinion “We are in a very dynamic phase in respect of legislation regarding managing South Africa’s waste.” Leon Bredenhann, strategic advisor integrated waste management, Golder Associates Africa

Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa

is printed on 100% recycled paper


Your Responsibility, Our Solution Talbot Laboratories is a commercial environmental laboratory specialising in chemical and microbiological analysis of water, wastewater and solid waste. The specialists in our waste division adhere to the latest environmental waste legislation and trends. With over 10 years waste classification experience, our laboratoryoffers our clients definitive waste management solutions. Puzzled by how to classify waste? Contact Talbot Laboratories.

+27 (0) 33 346 1444 • • Talbot Laboratories is a business division of Talbot & Talbot (Pty) Ltd.

contents ISSN 1680-4902, Volume 15, Number 1, February 2013


Promoting integrated resources management



Carbon tax

Hazardous waste

A new cutting-edge facility

Is treasury ready for implementation?

Composting of companion animal carcasses

ISSN 1680-490 1680-4902 02 R40.00 (incl VAT) • Vol 15, No 1, February 2013

National Composting strategy on the cards

The RéSource team stands firmly behind environmental preservation. As such, RéSource magazine is printed on 100% recycled paper and uses no dyes or varnishes. The magazine is saddlestitched to ensure that no glues are required in the binding process.





Cover Story

Expanding horizons

Boitumelong Investment Holdings

'ZRGTV1RKPKQP “We are in a very dynamic phase in respect of legislation regarding managing South Africa’s waste.”

Changing the South African waste management landscape

is printed on 100% recycled paper

Leon Bredenhann, strategic advisor integrated waste management, Golder Associates Africa


RéSource offers advertisers an ideal platform to ensure maximum exposure of their brand. Companies are afforded the opportunity of publishing a cover story and a cover picture to promote their products and services to an appropriate audience. Please call Christine Pretorius on +27 (0)11 465 6273 to secure your booking. The article does not represent the views of the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa, or those of the publisher.


Air pollution/CDM 3

President’s comment



Hot seat 8


Unpacking SA’s coming carbon tax

Hazardous waste Mortality composting of companion animals – novel and fresh

Carbon tax

Hazardous waste


Health care waste

Solid waste Seeking out a national strategy on the composting of organic waste


Tyre recycling plan ready to go after several speed bumps


Solid waste management practices in Western Africa


Health care waste remains a global challenge

The A to Z of landfills and landfilling


Vlakfontein is the new futuristic Class A landfill for Gauteng


The importance of GCL shear strength in steep sloped landfills


in association with infrastructure4


Profile Langkloof Bricks goes green, gets gold



Wastewater Wastewater energy efficiency and optimisation

Turning used oil into explosives – recycling with a difference


Panel discussion


infrastructure news


32 40





RéSource February 2013 – 1

strap President'sCover comment

Prosperity, planning & portfolios by Deidré Nxumalo-Freeman, president, IWMSA


ompliments and well wishes for a prosperous and fruitful 2013. At the IWMSA we are well into 2013 and ready to tackle the goals we have set for ourselves for this year and beyond. Our calendar of events for this year is very noteworthy and some of the highlights include The Healthcare Waste Summit (May), Landfill 2013 (October) as well as the Eastern Cape Conference (August). For a more detailed list of all our events refer to the Wastevine and the IWMSA website. All our goals and objectives are aligned to our vision, which is to strive towards a clean and healthy environment. The goals and objectives are the result of strategic planning sessions we have had as council and the inputs derived from our members via questionnaires. In this edition, I would like to introduce your IWMSA council to you and expound on the various portfolios assigned to the various council members in ensuring that we constantly strive towards achieving our vision.

• review of the branding manual • evaluation and extensive utilisation of marketing channels • media training of all branch chairpersons • hosting of conferences, seminars and networking sessions • the Eastern Cape Branch Conference headed up by Kay Hardy (IWMSA branch chairperson – Eastern Cape Branch) • WasteCon 2014 headed up by Melanie Traut (IWMSA branch chairperson – Western Cape Branch).

IWMSA) and its key objectives include: • establishment of a forum for interaction with Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) • hosting of WasteCon back-to-back with the DEA Waste Khoro

All our goals and objectives are aligned to our vision, which is to strive towards a clean and healthy environment.” Deidré Nxumalo-Freeman, IWMSA

Portfolio 2: To facilitate government liaison with all spheres of government. This portfolio is headed up by myself and Dr Suzan Oelofse (vice president of the

• all branches to have representation of provincial and local government officials • co-hosting of information sharing sessions with regulator y authorities • industr y awards partnerships with provincial environmental authorities (such as

Portfolio 1: To market and brand IWMSA as an extension of our continuous communication portfolio where we focus on priorities as defined by the council. This portfolio is headed up by Gail Smit (IWMSA executive officer) and branch chairpersons for the specific conferences held in their branches. The key objectives of this portfolio include: • development of marketing and branding strategy • development of marketing materials (website, brochures, etc.) FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Dr A Muswema, Ms M Traut, Dr S Oelofse, Mrs De Nxumalo Freeman, Ms K Hardy and Mr Bertie Lourens

Patron members of the IWMSA

RéSource February 2013 – 3

President's comment Publisher: Elizabeth Shorten Editor: Yanna Erasmus Tel: +27 (0)11 233 2600 Head of design: Frédérick Danton Senior designer: Hayley Mendelow Chief sub-editor: Claire Nozaïc Sub-editor: Patience Gumbo Production manager: Antois-Leigh Botma Production coordinator: Jacqueline Modise Financial manager: Andrew Lobban Marketing & online manager: Martin Hiller Distribution manager: Nomsa Masina Distribution coordinator: Asha Pursotham Administrator: Tonya Hebenton Printers: United Litho Johannesburg Tel: +27 (0)11 402 0571 Advertising sales: Christine Pretorius Tel: +27 (0)11 465 8255

Publisher: MEDIA No.4, 5th Avenue Rivonia, 2191 PO Box 92026, Norwood 2117 Tel: +27 (0)11 233 2600 Share Call: 086 003 3300 Fax: +27 (0)11 234 7274/5 Annual subscription: R195.00 (incl VAT) South Africa ISSN 1680-4902 The Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa Tel: +27 (0)11 675 3462 E-mail:

All material herein RéSource is copyright-protected and may not be reproduced either in whole or in part without the prior written permission of the publisher. The views and opinions expressed in the magazine do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher or editor, but those of the author or other contributors under whose name contributions may appear, unless a contributor expresses a viewpoint or opinion in his or her capacity as an elected office bearer of a company, group or association. © Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.

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the KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape Top Green Organisation awards). Portfolio 3: To provide accredited education and training relevant to the client/municipality needs that will result in high ethical conduct and standards in the industry. This portfolio is headed up by Gail Smit (IWMSA executive officer) assisted by a national training committee with representation of all the branches. The key objectives of this portfolio include: • provision of accredited as well as non-accredited training to the waste industr y • development of national training prospectus • availing funds for training and development of assessors and moderators to conduct IWMSA accredited training • utilisation of IWMSA members to conduct and facilitate training sessions. Portfolio 4: To accredit member organisations (big, small and individuals) through the development of a model (assessment standard/audit) that will accredit our member organisations, yet include mentorship as part of the package. This portfolio is headed up by Bertie Lourens (IWMSA branch chairperson – Central Branch) and its key objectives include: • establishing status quo and determine various modalities • conducting extensive stakeholder consultation • development of model that incorporates stakeholder feedback. Portfolio 5: To involve ourselves in social responsibility opportunities with school programmes, supporting communities and providing assistance to those with existing programmes resulting in tangible grassroots impact where projects get benchmarked and used by municipalities as well as small and micro enterprises. This por tfolio is headed up by all branch chairpersons and its key objectives include: • development of evaluation criteria for social responsibility projects to fund • support of IWMSA member organisations in the school/NGO categories.

so that this has an influence on the needs of the members. This portfolio is headed up by Aubrey Muswema (IWMSA branch chairperson – KwaZulu-Natal Branch) and Gail Smit (IWMSA executive officer) and its key objectives include: • conducting status quo and needs assessment based on the seven BBBEE pillars: – PDI (previously disadvantaged individuals) ownership percentage – PDI senior management percentage – PDI employment equity percentage in work force – Skills development percentage of salary bill – Preferential procurement percentage – Enterprise development percentage – Social development percentage • set objectives for Council and branches to achieve. I hope this provides insight into the goals and objectives that we have set for ourselves as the IWMSA council. Your assistance in the attainment of these goals and objectives is crucial to ensure that the IWMSA remains relevant within the waste industr y. Your feedback is highly valued and we have numerous communication platforms where your voice can be heard. Besides the traditional methods of communication (telephone, fax, e-mails, snail mail), we also utilise social media extensively to maintain contact with our membership base and also reach other industr y professionals. Below is a list of all our contact details and you are most welcome to communicate with us utilising any (or all) of these. Your input in directing the future of the IWMSA is highly valued.

IWMSA CONTACT DETAILS: Tel: +27 (0)11 675 3462 Fax: +27 (0)11 675 3465 E-mail: Address: Weltevreden Shopping Centre Cnr. Kanniedood & Rinyani streets, Weltevreden Park Postal Address: PO Box 79, Allen’s Nek, 1737 Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter

Portfolio 6: To ensure that the institute transformation policy is all-encompassing

Find us on LinkedIn

RéSource February 2013 – 5

Cover story


Acquisition to change local waste management landscape Black-owned investment company Boitumelong Holdings has acquired the previously internationally owned Otto Industries South Africa and Otto Waste Systems. Otto’s MD, Rob Lerena, and Boitumelong Holdings’ executive chairman, John Sithole, speak to RéSource about the acquisition.


he acquisition process has recently been completed, as the majority of negotiations and final agreements were already put in place in the final quarter of 2012, say Lerena and Sithole. The acquisition will strengthen Boitumelong’s already strong position in the local market, in light of its recent partnership with leading manufacturer of waste management equipment in Europe, the Ros Roca Group, under Lefatse Vehicle Solutions. “The result of Boitumelong’s acquisition of Otto is the formation of the first entirely BEE company to focus on the manufacturing of waste management products, as well as the service offerings aspects,” explains EMC Risk Management Consulting’s MD, Juneas Lekgetha, in his capacity as transactional advisor on the acquisition.

Strong roots Boitumelong Holdings was started in 1988 by Sithole from humble beginnings – a single borrowed flat-bed truck and eight casual labourers. The organisation has since evolved dramatically into a major operation focusing on the entire value chain of waste management, and currently hosts a large fleet of service vehicles with a substantial staff collective offering world-class waste management services to residential, commercial and industrial customers. Otto Industries South Africa was established in 1981 as only the second foreign investment of the group outside of Germany. Since then, however, the group has grown exponentially, with bases in Australia, North America, and Asia Pacific, not to mention their expansion into other European markets. The changing international dynamic and economics have necessitated a change in its business model.

6 – RéSource February 2013

“They are focusing more on markets in the European and North American sectors, and as a result they have stopped doing business in South Africa,” explains Lerena.

Long history Sithole and Boitumelong Holdings are, however, no strangers to Otto Industries South Africa. Sithole bought a 20% share in Otto Industries in 1995 and in 2000 both companies entered into a 50:50 joint venture to form Otto Waste Systems. The latest acquisition negotiations were resolved fairly quickly in light of these already strong bonds, with Boitumelong entering into negotiations in June last year and the final agreements being reached in December 2012. “This is pending approval of all the

necessary documentation to be finalised in the first quarter of 2013,” explains Sithole. As a result of the JV, Sithole was 50% owner of Otto Waste Systems, which meant he was not new to the business, with a good understanding of not only the industry and market but also the organisation – this was one of the key aspects in the negotiations. “The other partners knew him and his business practices well, and felt comfortable entering into discussions with him as they believed this would make the transition through the acquisition smoother. That made it very easy to enter into negotiations for both parties,” explains Lerena.

Optimising efficiencies Sithole believes the transition will take place with minimal upheaval. “Basically what we will be doing is evaluating efficiencies and structures in order to

Cover story

strengthen systems and processes already in place. It is really more about strengthening the business,” he says. The increased focus on effectiveness and efficiency is almost instantaneously evident when considering that the previous owner was based in Europe and managed the business long distance by proxy, believes Lekgetha. “The new owner, Boitumelong Holdings, is based in South Africa. It knows the waste management market and the role players, so it will be easier to identify efficiencies as it takes a more hands-on approach,” says Lekgetha. The increase in output efficiencies is not the only reason the team forecast a better business result – its strengthening BEE status is also likely to play a strong role. Boitumelong Holdings’ chief executive, Tumelo Sithole, says: “We are a blackowned company in the entirety now. We will be getting a Level 2 or 3 BEE rating in the next three to four months; however, we are targeting a Level 1 rating, be it now or in the long run.” John Sithole adds: “I think this in itself will open up a number of opportunities with regards to new contracts and new market opportunities not previously available to the organisation, due to the preference availed to BEE companies in local government contracts specifically. This will allow Otto Industries South Africa specialises in the manufacture of waste management tools such as plastic containers and wheelie bins

us to collaborate with more municipalities that were not previously in the system.” He adds that the most exciting reality or opportunity for him is when the cumulative waste management system they now offer gets into townships. “This spells immense growth for us.”

SADC and beyond John and Tumelo Sithole and Lerena indicate that expansion into Africa has been targeted as a growth strategy for the organisation moving forward. “Growth is coming to Africa.

is a lot of potential to benefit from introducing our system,” says John Sithole.

Holistic approach Both John Sithole and Lerena are quick to indicate that it is not just bins they are selling and marketing, but rather a holistic waste management system. Although the recently acquired Otto Waste Systems’ focus has to date been on the pro-

Production on-site is set to continue as normal after the changeover of ownership I think Europe is exhausted. It has been in the system for years and Africa is only just being introduced to it,” says John Sithole Lerena points out that in the sub-Saharan region specifically, business is still being entered into with Europe, at immense cost. “Why are they not doing business with Africa when the resources and technology are available?” Although this is a strategic focus, the organisation has already garnered some small orders and is currently setting up a number of agents throughout the region, with a focus on the SADC region predominantly. “We want to strengthen our influence in the SADC countries and then use it as a springboard into the rest of sub-Saharan Africa,” says Lerena, adding that the entire process is all about exploring partnerships – both established and potential. The challenge – and the potential in some respects – lies in the fact that SADC countries have very different waste management environments compared to the South African markets. “It is a very dynamic and different market. Look at Angola for example. It is a fast-growing economy and country, and yet it is not in the system and their waste system is not up to scratch as yet, so there Left to right: Otto Industries South Africa’s Rob Lerena, Boitumelong Holdings’ executive chairman, John Sithole, and Boitumelong Holdings’ chief executive, Tumelo Sithole

duction of virgin high-density polyethylene, ultra-violet stabilised waste containers for provincial and municipal authorities, as well as industrial and private contractors, the bin is merely one aspect of the recovery and collection system. “The advantage of advocating the entire system is that it increases the waste management process effectivity, while saving significant costs, introducing a number of controls and ensuring the correct hygiene practices,” says Lerena. However, education remains key in ensuring the successful roll-out of the system. “You still have to teach the individual households how the system works so that they can effectively take advantage of the system,” says John Sithole, adding that this education needs to be happening from the point of the service provider to the end user in order to ensure peak performance. While Otto’s speciality is in the manufacture and supply of waste management tools, Boitumelong Holdings is involved in the service provision aspects of waste management, which adds significant value as the focus then becomes holistic in nature. “We are not only going to be manufacturing a bin. We also offer the services to back that up. It is going to be a one-stop shop where we supply everything from a truck to a lifter, to the bin, to education,” says John Sithole. John Sithole and the team are quietly confident that with the recent acquisition and continued growth on Boitumelong’s side, 2013 is going to be a growth year for the new firm. “It has to be in light of recent developments, and our expectations are high going forward,” concludes Sithole.

RéSource February 2013 – 7

Hot seat


Focusing on a sustainable future

Golder Associates unpacks waste management legislation, its implementation and the future impacts in what is sure to be definitive waste management workshops, to be held in May 2013.


e are in a very dynamic phase in respect of legislation regarding managing South Africa’s waste. Not only in terms of the primary legislation – the Waste Act – but also in implementing the Act,” says Leon Bredenhann, Strategic Advisor for Integrated Waste Management at Golder in Africa. Golder will therefore be holding waste management workshops to engage the waste management sector on the legislation and the implications of the rollout thereof, among other aspects. The workshops will be held in May this year in three of South Africa’s key cities, namely Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. The workshops are aimed at senior decision-makers in companies pertaining to waste management responsibilities in mining, oil and gas, energy, chemical

8 – RéSource February 2013

manufacturing industries (including pharmaceutical) and the agricultural industry, as well as decision-makers in government. The workshops are set to host a number of international speakers in order to contextualise the local dialogue in the global context, as well as a number of local waste management experts.

A definite need The necessity for the workshop in the current local waste management context is clear, believes Bredenhann. The most proactive, financially rewarding and long-term costefficient way to protect our environment and contribute to resource conservation is in the opportunity and choice that each individual manufacturer, industry, mine and owner of

a waste activity company is presented with – namely to prevent and/or minimise waste, optimise its resource value and advance green economies. In this way, proactively managing waste makes economic sense. “For a number of reasons, managing waste and implementing supporting legislation have become increasingly challenging, especially if considered against the backdrop of South Africa being a developing country that is home to mining and industry infrastructure on a par with developed countries. The challenges are compounded by the reality of limited water resources and a significantly eco-tourism-based economy. However, in a truly democratic society, governance is a joint responsibility. A platform to discuss not only the various issues, but also an opportunity to share ideas and innovations is critical to any industry and so too, with waste management,” says Bredenhann. The waste management workshops will therefore create a forum where the current status quo of waste management and the environment will be discussed. “It is also critical that the industry achieves the objectives of the various Acts contained in the legislation pertaining to waste and this will be unpacked – including strategies, classifications and processes. There is also a lot of work that needs to be done in terms of remediation, contaminated land and wastage

Hot seat

in the industry. Technologies and their various applications will be discussed and explained, and ideas will be shared. National waste management systems, waste to energy and WRATE (Waste and Resources Assessment Tool for the Environment) will also be brought to the fore,” says Bredenhann. The workshops, which are seen as a platform to engage rather than transfer knowledge in a top-down fashion, will consist of four key focus areas, namely unpacking the current legislation, Golder’s approach to translating the current contexts and opportunities into value, the value of sustainable design in landfills, and finally assessing ‘where to from here’.

Examining current legislation

compliance. “It is one thing to gain compliance, but it is better to save costs, reduce risks and increase your organisation’s sustainability,” says Bredenhann. This view also relates to rectifying past transgressions and, through the workshops, the company will seek to specifically address the issue of contaminated land and how to rehabilitate that land. “We want to go beyond remediation though. We want to take remediated land and allocate new land use and this is where the value is unlocked,” he says. With regards to Golder’s contaminated land service offering, “the value in Golder’s

Sustainable design The third focus highlighted by Bredenhann is on integrated waste management facilities as opposed to just disposal facilities. “The essence of an integrated facility is that rather than just accepting that waste arriving at landfills is earmarked for final disposal, it is viewed as an opportunity to gain value. It is not a new concept; however, specialists should be contracted to translate the value chain into operation – design wise – which is where the shortfall often arises.” In addition to focusing on mate-

The Act almost lists the opportunities where you could, instead of creating and disposing of waste, explore opportunities for deriving extra value from that waste.” Leon Bredenhann, Strategic Advisor for Integrated

According to Bredenhann the current legislation is very Waste Management at Golder in Africa dynamic and comprehensive; however, the focus from here on out needs expertise is managing the spectrum of to be on implementation and industry buy-in. sources that results in land contamination, This starts with the national waste manage- whether that spectrum involves organic, ment strategy that is a course of action – a inorganic or nuclear waste, and modelling road to achieve the objectives of the law – and the risk to ultimate receptors and mitigating it affects everybody in society, from national against those risks through various means”. government to local government, industry and The economics of waste the rights of individuals. “It’s a strategy that has a huge impact Another focus area is the resource value and needs to be understood by all the role of waste, which is also a focus area in the players in the waste management stream Waste Management Act, and how this value and this is what we will also be unpacking in the waste chain can be unlocked. “The in the workshops.” Additionally, best prac- Act almost lists the opportunities where you tice standards are also to be investigated, could, instead of creating and disposing of touching on issues relating to how to classify waste, explore opportunities for deriving extra waste, how to manage waste information, value from that waste,” says Bredenhann. In dealing with this topic, a two-pronged which disposal sites are acceptable and what standards are required for disposal approach should be taken. First, investigatsites. This entails a keen understanding of ing the legal process of getting approval for what Bredenhann terms the “fundamentals recovery and managing the risk in respect of third-party use (downstream use). Second, of the law”. The first focus of the workshops therefore from a more practical perspective, the workseeks to give a holistic overview of the cur- shops will unpack optimising and investigatrent legislative environment. “It is about ing those opportunities through feasibility where we stand currently in South Africa in studies around the application, all the way respect to legislation and what the legislation through to implementation. Other technologies to be investigated requires from us. And what the implications include using WRATE of conformance and nonmodelling to optimise conformance are. The efficiency in respect beauty of conformance is of waste logistics and that it could, if correctly reducing organisations’ managed, add value to a carbon footprint as a company’s financial botresult, as well as remetom line.” diation options for the A company’s sole aim, closure of mines. however, should not be

rial recovery, storage, treatment and then only disposal, the approach should be to ensure that these facilities operate as value-adding facilities in the communities or locations where they are based using specific modelling tools, namely Landsim, Goldsim and the newest tool in the arsenal, Gassim. These manage the risk of those landfills on the downstream side. “Positioning a landfill is also critical in managing costs for transferring waste to that landfill and also in managing the social sensitivities, where air and odours are key issues for the public downstream. Specific air quality modelling should be used to determine the distance.”

A visionary approach The final category attempts to “look in the crystal ball and build a bridge between the current status quo and the realities of the future,” says Bredenhann. This entails managing people from situations (such as contaminated land) to a sustainable future and debating what that reality will entail, while trying to prevent repetition of the inherited legacy of the past. The questions to be asked, according to Bredenhann, are: What do we do now? What do we need to do differently? What can we do collectively? Interested parties who would like to attend these workshops can contact Golder’s media relations manager in Africa, Lucinda Scholtz, on +27 (0)11 313 1151 or via e-mail on

RéSource February 2013 – 9

Solid waste

Recycling the way nature intended

That South Africa has to divert waste from landfill sites and find other management options is a given. One of the simplest options is the diversion of organic waste from landfills with a possible view of composting it. The Department of Environmental Affairs has tasked engineering and environmental consultant Jeffares & Green to develop a national strategy on this, as Yanna Erasmus discovers.

10 – RÊSource February 2013

Solid waste


nofficial estimates put organic waste around the 13% mark of the total waste produced in South Africa and roughly a third of this is being composted, recycled or reused. However, the composition of domestic waste differs vastly across municipalities in South Africa and organic waste can make up anything from 10% to 58% of the waste stream. Whatever the figures may be, there is a lot of waste going to landfill that should be diverted, particularly due to the fact that this type of wet waste is the key contributor to leachate and greenhouse gas production on landfills. As such, the Department of Environmental Affairs should be commended for having a strategy developed for composting. The department should also continue to apply its energy looking at other possible alternatives once this composting alternative has been addressed. According to Stuar t Gower-Jackson of Jeffares & Green, the creation of the National Organic Waste Composting Strategy will soon be complete. This project required a lot of initial groundwork in trying to establish some form of status quo of organic waste quantum in the country due to a lack of quantifiable data on organic waste volumes produced in the provinces, as well as data that differentiates between differing organic waste streams. A literature and review of the current applications of organic waste in South Africa and elsewhere in the world was conducted along with a review of the relevant legal requirement(s) in South Africa and then comment was sought from a database of over 1 000 stakeholders, which included individuals, companies, NGOs and public entities. A draft status quo document was circulated for public comment until 21 November 2012, after which a final document was written to include the pertinent comments and responses received from the public. According to Gower-Jackson: “A country’s strategy should be practical, implementable, applicable and affordable. Most importantly, it should be sustainable and must have broad-based participation on all levels.” Technically, food and abattoir waste along with offal and manure could all be categorised as organic waste. Paper, wool and other organic materials and certain sewage sludge could also be included into this category; it is not just regular garden waste that applies. This will have to be included into a strategy so that the different categories of organic waste streams and the beneficial use thereof are defined.

ABOVE AND BELOW Composting methods are diverse and can be separated by the level of technology used to prepare the compost

Interestingly, there is no specific legislation that deals with composting itself. The onus rests upon the municipalities to manage organic waste and the only legislation that is applicable to composting is the construction of a facility as well as the activities and processes on the site. Further, in terms of the Air Quality Act, if more than a tonne of animal matter is processed daily, an emissions licence must be applied for. Finally, the seller of any compost product must register with the Department of Agriculture’s Technical Services.

Composting methods Composting methods are diverse and can be separated by the level of technology used to prepare the compost. In the draft document drawn up by Jeffares & Green, the lowest technological level is the static pile where no aeration is used. These piles can be quite large, starting at around a cubic metre. Lowtechnology applications include the use of

bins or barrels, windrows and vermicomposting (as examples). In the case of the former, aeration can be introduced in various ways, including carton layers or possibly turning the windrows, and in the latter earthworms are used to degrade the matter. From here on it moves to medium and high technology where equipment, including turning machines, mechanised continuous flow worm systems, tunnels and other vessels, and even cylindrical drums are used. Lower and cheaper technology use tends to take longer, needs more space and delivers a variable grade product. Alternatively a higher-value compost product can be developed in a smaller space (although at added expense). The simpler technologies would be easily applied and operated by municipalities or private sector but, as medium and high technological inputs are required, public-private partnerships and predominantly private sector initiatives would tend to be more common.

Commentary Main concerns from stakeholders were on the financial viability of composting since the return on investment is slow and the profit

RéSource February 2013 – 11

Solid waste

margins small. Adding value to organic waste or turning it into energy were both strong themes in the general comments and the South African Waste Pickers Association took it one step further saying the beneficiation of organic waste was vital for the association. Mention was also made of the use of chemical fertilisers by commercial farmers with suggestions of an awareness campaign, synergies with the agricultural departments and other efforts. However, some parties were concerned about the regular and consistent supply of raw material (feedstock) for operations to ensure consistency of product and delivery. Here suggestions were made for municipalities to communicate better, work together and do improved research to gather more informative baseline data. The diversion of organic waste from landfill also featured strongly, one of the causes of informal reclaimers on landfill sites, and comments included legislation to prevent organic waste from going to landfill as well as separation at source initiatives. One key issue is the cost of transport, which financially hinders initiatives. Capacity (also

for equipment maintenance), public awareness, incentives, subsidies, public private partnerships and a good commercial market appear to form the backbone of the recommendations and comments made, and these would certainly have to be included in a country strategy if composting is to become the way forward for some of the country’s organic waste . At the star t of 2012, Jeffares & Green

began to host more stakeholder workshops, garner more commentar y and engage the major metros again, among other key stakeholders. More information from what is being done in this field is also being gathered. The process is expected to be completed soon and a plan for the countr y’s organic waste should emerge; hopefully leading the way for further diversion from landfill. RéSource February 2013 – 13

Waste Tire Recycling Plants

■ Most Advanced Technology ■ Most Efficient ■ Most Professional ■ Less Maintenance ■ Less Energy ■ Less Spare Parts ■ Integrated Rubber Granulate Production AMANDUS KAHL GmbH & Co. KG Dieselstrasse 5, D-21465 Reinbek / Hamburg, Germany Phone: +49 (0)40 727 71-0, Fax: +49 (0)40 727 71-100

Johannes Schuback & Sons (S.A.) PTY Limited, Johannesburg / RSA Phone: +27 11 7062270, Fax: +27 11 7069236

Solid waste


Scrap tyre plan survives another blow The much beleaguered waste tyre management plan of the Recycling and Economic Development Initiative of South Africa (Redisa) was regazetted on 30 November last year after the Retail Motor Industry won an interdict against the implementation of the plan 10 days earlier, Yanna Erasmus reports.


he Retail Motor Industry (RMI) had attacked the Redisa plan on several matters, but Judge Neil Tuchten found one point of contention – that of Section 15.1 where waste reduction targets were discussed. Counsel for the RMI, Japie Vorster, told the court that not only were the targets flawed, but the section was added after the closure of the period for industry and public comment. This, Vorster said, made the plan illegal as the changes made were ‘material’. According to the plan, the targets for waste reduction were: “Within 12 months, processing of 30 000 tpa of waste tyres; within 24 months, processing of 90 000 tpa of waste tyres; within 36 months, processing of 150 000 tpa of waste tyres; within 60 months, processing of 400 000 tpa of waste tyres.” The RMI contends that according to an independent expert report, “it would cause a backlog of 427 917 t of waste tyres by month 41. This is approximately double the waste tyre mass sold in South Africa annually.” In fact, the court heard that Redisa’s own figures had substantiated the calculation of the backlog. Redisa countered that within 10 years the backlog would be entirely removed, but its plan has only been approved for five years. Vorster said that the plan has to be republished for comment. The minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, who has been to court several times to defend the plan, removed the section under contention and it was published again. The levy of R2.30/kg also came under fire with Vorster telling the court that R33 million had been spent by Redisa to ready

14 – RéSource February 2013

its infrastructure. Monthly office rent of R300 000 and fittings of R8 million were further costs incurred, all of which would have to be paid for by the tyre levy. A reasonable decision-maker, Vorster said, would never have approved the plan. Molewa’s speedy response was welcomed by Redisa. Its CEO, Hermann Erdmann, said: “We are very pleased that the minister has taken such prompt action to resolve the chaos that the suspension of the plan was causing in the tyre industry. Getting the plan

at present, recycling around 1 000 t each, which means an estimated 13% of waste tyres are recycled. The balance typically ends up in landfills, dumped in the veld or illegally burned for their scrap steel content. This, in turn, creates a growing health and environmental problem. Redisa says that it will “establish a network of transporters to collect scrap tyres from the entire country, supply them to recyclers and provide support and help to develop secondary markets for the recyclers’ output products. In doing so, the

Scrap tyres are a great challenge in South Africa as between 10 and 15 million tyres are produced annually and around 10 million tyres are scrapped every year suspended pending a review application meant that the industry would have been in a state of uncertainty for months, not knowing if the waste tyre management fee was going to have to be paid or not. A review application takes months to complete, and for all that time the industry would have had to provisionally set aside funds to pay the fee if the Review Court found in favour of the minister, and deal with refund claims if it found against her. By re-gazetting the plan, the minister is following the resolution proposed in the judgment and bringing sanity back into the tyre market.”

About the plan Scrap tyres are a great challenge in South Africa as between 10 and 15 million tyres are produced annually and around 10 million tyres are scrapped every year. There are only three active tyre recycling companies in the country

plan is designed to create jobs, particularly in the informal sector, and create majority black-owned small and micro businesses.” Redisa’s plan thus has focused on creating employment opportunities in the removal of waste tyres that are already in the environment. These will be delivered to one of the 150 collection points that will be established across the country. In essence, the plan involves a levy of R2.30/kg on all locally manufactured and imported tyres. Instead of the producer responsibility system for recycling, the association opted for a levy system. The decision was based on the argument that producer responsibility is a voluntary system, which does not offer a fair playing field. In a levy system, all producers and importers operate equally. Readers requiring further information can log on to

Solid waste


Solid waste management practices in Western Africa In Western Africa, the rapid rate of uncontrolled and unplanned urbanisation, coupled with a high density of urban settlement and changing consumption patterns, have accelerated the need for water supply, sanitation and waste management infrastructure.


his is the third instalment of four parts of a paper investigating waste management and its challenges in the west of the African continent.

Plastic waste According to the survey results, separate collection of plastic waste only exists in Lagos, Nigeria, through separate collection bins, skips or bags. The collection is organised by the Lagos Waste Management Authority. In addition, plastic waste is also collected informally. The official collection rate reaches around 35% of the total plastic waste generated. More than 1 500 formal and informal workers are engaged in the plastic collection and transportation. For transportation, open trucks and compactor trucks are used. In all other cases, plastic waste is informally and formally collected within the municipal solid waste collection system. Therefore, the collection frequency as well as the collection technology is the same as for household waste. There are informal waste collectors that sort plastic waste out of municipal waste and sell it to generate income. In Accra, about 8% of the total plastic waste generated is estimated to be recovered by private collection companies. There are groups that deal with plastic waste by operating

collection points and by selling the collected plastic to bulk purchasers who collect it with trucks for further processing in the country or for export. Others operate at the landfill site where they sort out any useful material and sell it to prospective buyers. All these activities happen informally, though on an increasing scale. Plastic reuse, mainly of plastic bottles, is a common practice. In Dakar, there are many informally organised practices of plastic reuse. On the Mbeubeuss dumpsite near Dakar, groups of women wash and clean plastic bottles for reuse. They sell the bottles to women merchants. Other activities include the sewing of plastic sheets to produce roofs for rural houses, the recuperation of material to make cushions or refurbishing handbags to sell them again. The Tolbiac Street in Dakar is the main area where plastics are recovered, collected, sorted and recycled by the informal waste pickers and recyclers. It is ideally situated to collect plastics from industrial waste, close to the port, the industrial free zone and various markets. In Ghana, few companies reuse polyethylene (PE), polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polypropylene (PP) bottles and bags are produced from discarded plastic materials. Information on plastic reuse is

scarce. In Nigeria, reused plastic wastes are mainly bags, bottles, barrels and films, so it is again focused on PE and PET products. There are around 2 500 formal and informal workers engaged in the reuse and recycling of plastics. In Dakar, mainly PE and PP is collected. The plastic is directly brought to the recycling plant. The treatment processes are quite simple and include manual sorting (PE and PP from the others), washing and drying of the plastics. Mechanical recycling processes such as shredding or extruding exist in few cases. In Accra, a sorting plant is under construction. Only few companies are involved in plastic recycling. The recycling process includes sorting, shredding, washing, drying and extruding. The resulting pellets are usually sold to other plastic companies or exported. Products manufactured from recycled plastics are, for example, buckets or chairs. On a more informal scale, there are plastic recyclers who scavenge for plastic materials at homes or in dumpsites. Some of them melt the waste plastic to produce beads, which are then sold on the local LEFT Plastic waste sorting at dumpsite, Senegal Source: IAGU 2006

RIGHT Plastic waste sorting, Ghana Source: 2012

RÊSource February 2013 – 15

Solid waste

LEFT E-waste refurbishing, Nigeria Source: Empa 2009

RIGHT E-waste recycling, Ghana Source: Green Advocacy Ghana 2010

market. In Lagos, in addition to PE and PET, also nylon and tyres are recycled. The recycling technologies applied include sorting, shredding, washing, drying and extruding in order to produce pellets, flakes and nylon. The final products/applications obtained from recycled plastics are e.g. waste bags, shoes, chopping boards and hair extensions. Final disposal practices are the same as for municipal solid waste. Plastic waste is disposed of in authorised landfills or on irregular and illegal dumpsites. It is also quite common that plastic waste, especially plastic bags or sheets, is openly burned in backyards, markets, at stadiums, railway stations, dumpsites etc. In Dakar, within the next three years, three industrial methanisation plants should be operational. This implies previous separation of non-organic waste. As there is no incineration plant projected, this is a future opportunity to organise separate plastic collection and recycling.

E-waste In general, there exists no formal separate collection of e-waste. Collection is mostly in the hand of informal collectors who pick up or buy obsolete electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) from door to door, and scavenge at official or irregular dumpsites. In Ghana and Nigeria, the informal collection is well organised due to the high amount of e-waste generation and the ability of the collectors to pay for the consumer’s e-waste since they in turn receive money from the informal recyclers for every piece collected. These practices lead to collection rates of up to 95% in urban regions in Ghana and Nigeria. In Senegal and the Ivory Coast, due to smaller amounts of e-waste generated, the informal collection is not very widespread and the collection rate is probably

16 – RéSource February 2013

TABLE 1: Jobs in e-waste management repair, refurbishment, collection and recycling Ghana Ivory Coast Nigeria Senegal Number of workers engaged Accra: 10 000 4 000 Lagos: N/A in repair and refurbishment Ghana: 14 000 21 600 (formal and informal) Number of informal workers Accra: 4 500 to 6 000 N/A N/A Mbeubeuss engaged in collection Ghana: 6 300 to scrapyard: and recycling 9 600 800 Source: (SBC 2011; Prakash et al. 2010; Messou and Rochat 2011; Wone and Rochat 2008)

lower that in Ghana and Nigeria. Informal collection is usually done with handcarts, e.g. made from boards and old car axles. Some collectors also use trucks. There is no regular collection period of the informal collection. Formal collection of e-waste is done by formal recycling companies. They have arrangements with certain e-waste generators that enable them to pick up their e-waste for free. Refurbishment and repair of obsolete EEE is very common. Nigeria features the largest refurbishment and repair sector with extensive markets where second-hand products are repaired, refurbished and sold in the same or close by locations. These markets are informal but very well organised. In the Ivory Coast, Ghana and Nigeria, there are associations of repairers and technicians of EEE. The approximate number of repairer and refurbishers is summarised in Table 1. In Ivory Coast, repairers are the largest provider of e-waste to scrap dealers. They usually have a close relationship and are sometimes located next to each other, exchanging materials according to their needs. In all target countries, the refurbishing and repair sector is highly specialised and has high repair success rates of up to 70%. It contributes significantly to the extension of the lifespan of EEE and thus to the reduction of e-waste generation. The e-waste recycling sector is mostly informal. In Ghana, the hub of the recycling operations is the Greater Accra Region at the scrap yards of Agbogbloshie, Gallaway and Ashiaman, although smaller scrapyards

where e-waste is also dismantled are spread all over the country. In Senegal, informal recyclers also do collection and repair, either in informal warehouses disseminated all over Dakar or on the dumping site of Mbeubeuss. In Ivory Coast, the main scrapyards where the dismantling of e-waste takes place are located in the municipalities of Kumasi and Marcory (Anoumabo). In Nigeria, in contrast to the large and well-organised refurbishing and repair sector, e-waste recycling activities are at rather a small scale and spread over the large cities. In all countries, the informal recyclers work in numerous small workshops within the scrapyards where a few recyclers work together or one recycler employs several workers. In few cases, recyclers deal directly with end-processing partners, such as refineries, by selling them the recovered metals. In many cases, middlemen are handling collection of recovered fractions from the recyclers and bring them to endprocessing partners. In larger scrapyards, the workers are often organised in associations or unions. The local recycling activities are similar in all countries (see Table 2). First, if possible, spare parts are sorted out and sold to the repair or refurbishment sector. E-waste is manually dismantled, sometimes by crude methods such as smashing or treating with a chisel, sometimes with screwdrivers etc., and then sorted into metals and other fractions. Copper cables are often burnt to remove the plastic insulation. Insulating foam from obsolete refrigerators, primarily

Solid waste TABLE 2: Pre-processing and end-processing of different e-waste fractions Local informal pre-processing Burning of copper cables Manual dismantling and sorting

Resulting components and fractions Copper Copper Ferrous metals Aluminium Lead Printed wiring boards (PWB containing precious metals) Plastic

Local formal and informal endprocessing Formal smelters, informal smelters

Foreign endprocessing Formal smelters

Formal smelters Formal smelters, informal smelters (e.g. production of cooking items) Local informal smelters (e.g. production of sinkers for the fishing industry) Disposal

Formal smelters

High dioxin emissions from cable burning

Toxic emissions during smelting processes Formal smelters

Toxic emissions during smelting processes

Hydrometallurgical treatment in Asia

Contamination of water and soil

Disposal and burning

CRT tubes (containing lead, Crushing and disposal beryllium, phosphor, etc.) Hazardous fractions (PCB Disposal and burning in capacitors, mercury in backlights, batteries) Source: (Amoyaw-Osei et al. 2011; Messou and Rochat 2011; Wone and Rochat 2008; SBC 2011)

polyurethane, and/or old car tyres are the main fuels used to sustain the fires. The CRT monitor screens and other ‘non profitable’ fractions such as plastic casings, keyboards, capacitors, dry batteries, etc., are not recovered and usually dumped and eventually burnt in order to reduce the volumes at the dumpsites. The uncontrolled dumping and burning of hazardous fractions lead to significant negative impacts on health and environment. Table 2 summarises the local and foreign recycling activities of various e-waste components and fractions as well as the resulting environmental impacts. The amount of fractions produced is difficult to estimate. According to the general composition of e-waste, it can be assumed that about 40% of the weight can be recovered and around 60% is dumped or burned. In each country some formal recycling activities exist. The formal recyclers usually get e-waste from corporate consumers. Valuable fractions that cannot be further processed in the country itself are exported to Europe. However, only a very small share

Environmental impacts of informal practices

of all e-waste is recycled formally (in Ghana, it is estimated at a level below 1%). E-waste can be found in disposed municipal solid waste in all countries, but it is normally sorted out at dumpsites and brought to informal scrapyards for dismantling. Non-valuable or toxic fractions resulting from e-waste recycling, such as plastic cases and leaded glass from CRT screens, batteries, capacitors, etc., are disposed of together with municipal waste on illegal or official dumpsites, in garbage bins, on the outskirt of municipalities or in reservoirs, rivers, lagoons or lakes. Since there is no controlled sanitary landfill for municipal solid waste in any of the countries, there is no

Plastic may contain brominated flame retardants. High dioxin emissions from burning During the crushing, the dust containing hazardous substances is set free Contamination of air, water and soil

infrastructure for the environmentally sound final disposal of non-valuable or hazardous fractions available. This is an abridged version on the project of Integrated Waste Management in Western Africa. The duration of the project, funded by the EU within the Seventh Framework Programme, was two years and the results of the research were submitted during May 2012. For a full version including references, please contact Chantelle Mattheus at LEFT Burning of copper cables, Ghana Source: Green Advocacy Ghana 2010

RIGHT Informal dumping of e-waste, Ghana Source: Green Advocacy Ghana 2010

18 – RéSource February 2013

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Novel method of used oil recycling While the use of used oil in industrial explosives accounts for up to 80% of all explosives used in North America, its use is still growing in South Africa. Using oil for ANFO (ammonium nitrate fuel oil) is an attractive alternative to disposing of this hazardous waste and BME, a member of the Omnia Group, is getting it right, writes Yanna Erasmus.


round 270 Mℓ of lubricants are sold annually in South Africa and, of this, half is lost through use. That leaves 135 Mℓ of used oil, of which some 80 Mℓ is accounted for through the tracking of hazardous waste regulations. This implies that approximately 55 Mℓ is being disposed of irresponsibly. In 2005, the Rose Foundation, in collaboration with collectors including BME, formed the National Oil Recycling Association of South Africa (NORA-SA). The association promotes the recovery and recycling of used oil in the country with a strict code of conduct, lobbying to enable legislation and engagement with the industry. Used oil has a powerful capacity for contamination and pollution. We all know the Rose Foundation adage

20 – RéSource February 2013

that one litre of used oil can contaminate a million litres of water, but the high concentration of metal ions, lead, zinc, chromium and

as a substitute for heavy fuel oil, there are also companies such as PPC that buy untreated used oil and fire up their lime kilns as well as others that produce an industrialgrade furnace fuel from used oil. But there is another application that BME calls a cradle-to-cradle philosophy. Since around 2007, BME has used recycled oil in its explosives products, which are used on mines across the African continent. While this may not be a novel

In essence, oil, used or otherwise, should never be disposed of unless collected by a NORA-SA accredited member copper persist in ecosystems and are also emitted when used in furnaces and the like. In the environment, it decomposes slowly. In essence, oil, used or otherwise, should never be disposed of unless collected by a NORA-SA accredited member. While the bulk of used oil is currently reprocessed into industrial fuel oil and used

BME’s used oil team: L to R – Erika Haasbroek, Nicoleen Cilliers, Emelia Mascis and Martie Creamer


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application, only BME thus far has managed to produce stable explosives bulk products through its emulsion technology. According to Emilia Mascis of BME: “We create a new product out of a waste product. Instead of taking used oil and disposing of it responsibly, we are creating a new usable product and returning it to the point of generation. This type of management ensures that once a product reaches the end of its lifespan, its component parts are recovered and reused, thereby becoming inputs for new products and materials.� The company has two plants, one in Losberg near Fochville in the North West and the Dr yden packaging plant near Delmas. According to Mascis, the recipe of the company’s success is a system of checks and balances that ensures the ‘purity’ of the used oil product. “The system begins with an audit of the mine, including the brand of oil that the company uses. Full checks are performed on the storage facilities of the used oil on-site. For example, oil tanks should not rust. The storage system must be closed.

In other words, it must be a sealed system from pumping the used oil out and into storage. We check for spillages and leaks, safety around the site and the company procedures. BME will then take a sample of oil, which is sent to our Losberg plant for

processing and the final product is a black, Vaseline-like high energy fuel. This is used by the company’s mining clients where 6% is added to 94% of oxidiser (ammonium nitrate) to form the explosives – hence the cradle-to-cradle philosophy. The benefits

This type of management ensures that once a product reaches the end of its lifespan, its component parts are recovered and reused testing. This is done prior to any collection taking place. If the results comply with our requirements and the used oil is ‘clean’, we will collect. Prior to processing, however, another sample is taken for testing. This has been the reason for our success.� Quarantine tanks are used at the company’s facilities at Losberg and Dryden to allow for further screening of the collected product prior to processing. In the company’s process, 90% of what is collected is usable and the remainder is disposed of as per NORA-SA requirements and regulations. Water and volatiles are removed during the

are obvious and significant. Many of the mines across the continent are in remote sites and the removal of old engine oil and the importation of diesel may not necessarily be as available or cost-effective. It certainly is pleasing that the technology has been refined adequately in South Africa that used oil can be reprocessed into a new product and returned to the original point of generation, used as energy in mining operations. It is as Anton Hanekom from Plastics|SA said: “Recycling is about creating a new product from what was originally a waste product.�

22 – RÊSource February 2013


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Vlakfontein: cutting-edge facility There are frequent reports of the illegal dumping of hazardous waste streams occurring across South Africa. There is also a general shortage of disposal facilities for hazardous waste and many existing facilities are not fully compliant. This status quo will now change with a new hazardous treatment and disposal facility at Vlakfontein, Gauteng. By Yanna Erasmus.


he new Vlakfontein waste treatment site demonstrates the use of the latest technology and is compliant with all the relevant legislation. According to Stan Jewaskiewitz of Envitech Solutions, the site design consultants: “The entire facility has been designed with the waste hierarchy in mind.” Gauteng will now enjoy the benefits of a truly world-class waste treatment facility that will meet the needs of all stakeholders. Customers and clients will receive good service and have the comfort that their waste streams are being handled appropriately, all regulatory requirements will be met or exceeded, and the community will be an active participant through a strong

ethos of conservation and environmental best practice, job creation and partnership.

• Waste acceptance control will be of the highest standard. These procedures are critical to ensure that unacceptable waste types do not enter the site and that unexpected chemical reactions are avoided. This is vital to ensuring the safety and health of not only the employees but also all clients, other visitors, the community and the environment. • A fully compliant on-site laboratory will be provided for the testing of hazardous

Gauteng will now enjoy the benefits of a truly world-class waste treatment facility that will meet the needs of all stakeholders The site development plan at Vlakfontein is extensive and the following facilities and infrastructure will be included: • The facility will have full access control and up to four weighbridges to record not only incoming but also outgoing vehicles and their loads, including waste type and volume by closed circuit television.

An aerial perspective of the site of the new cutting edge facility

RéSource February 2013 – 25

Landfills LEFT The Vlakfontein site layout

• A weather station will be installed to monitor and record meteorological data, which will determine operations as well as potential emissions, and the site will be fully fenced with guards and regular patrols. Both ac0cess and on-site roads will be designed to minimise the generation of dust and all gravel roads will be wetted to ensure dust suppression.


wastes to come into the site and well as a quality management system. • Secure parking, resting and ablution facilities will be provided for the trucks and their drivers delivering waste while testing is undergone. Visiting truck drivers are therefore also catered for. • In line with government’s vision of reducing waste to landfill, the facility will have a material recovery facility to ensure that recyclables are removed through manual and mechanical extraction methods. • A treatment plant for liquid and other nonstandard waste streams will ensure that classified waste is assessed and treated accordingly to meet the new regulations when they are promulgated. Further, it is proposed to install a non-burn technology or hydroclave for the treatment of approved healthcare risk wastes.

Jewaskiewitz states: “All processes will be designed to the latest standards and will meet all the latest air emission requirements in terms of the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act as well as the air quality standards as published in Regulation 1210 of 2009.” • The landfill facility will be operated according to the legal requirement and

The site, around 200 ha in size, is situated just north of Vereeniging. It is located on the disused De Deur Brickworks premises on the farm Vlakfontein. The site met the relevant criteria as a brown field site due to the substantial disturbance of the land arising from deep excavations for clay materials, derelict brick kilns and the stockpiling of brick wastes. Jewaskiewitz says: “The development will enable the rehabilitation of the existing site through properly engineered landfill, closure and rehabilitation procedures. Further to this there has been a joint undertaking by Vlakfontein and the community to develop the surrounding area

The landfill facility will be operated according to the legal requirement and is lined according to a Class A containment barrier system is lined according to a Class A containment barrier system – the new national standard. This includes six liners along with several compacted clay liners, a leakage detection system and a leachate collection system.

as a nature conservancy, which will now also be fully fenced.” As part of the greening of the site, undeveloped areas on the property will be planted with indigenous vegetation and stocked with suitable game. The first phase will only use 20 ha of the total area and the lifespan of this phase is expected to be 20 years. It will include the infrastructure and one cell of the total seven cells that are planned. Site preparation has already begun and it is envisaged that construction will begin during the first quarter of 2013 and be completed towards the end of 2013.

Geology and hydrogeology The site can be broadly segmented into two geological zones. The first is a dolerite geological zone with portions where the dolerite intrusion has occurred and the second, a quartzite zone where no intrusion of the dolerite has occurred. The dolerite zone extends roughly across the northern half of the site and, as Jewaskiewitz says: “this comprises residual and/or weathered Timeball Hill Formation quartzite overlying residual dolerite clays with weathered dolerite bedrock. This portion of

26 – RéSource February 2013

Landfills RIGHT A class A barrier system

the site is technically ideal for the location of this type of landfill.” In terms of water specifications, the water depths are between 10 and 30 m, the groundwater flows in a north-westerly direction and the aquifer is classified as minor. Regarding the potential for groundwater contamination, the naturally occurring lowpermeability and residual clays at the site will provide good attenuation and retardation to any surface water infiltration. In terms of leachate and stormwater management, a comprehensive plan was compiled with the site divided into sub-catchment areas to delineate clean and dirty water systems. Leachate will be stored in a leachate dam and pumped into a liquid waste treatment plant. The final treated effluent will be disposed of to a reed-bed system prior to discharge to the environment, meeting the highest effluent discharge standards.

Monitoring Vlakfontein has a comprehensive monitoring plan that will not only verify that the facility conforms to the required standards and site specific licence conditions, but will also use the data that is collected to effectively manage the potential effects that the facility could have on the environment. Monitoring will also ensure that the site design, implementation and operation controls are adequate and provide information for future planning and prioritisation. The comprehensive monitoring plan will allow quality- and risk assessment and the implementation of appropriate risk management measures.

28 – RéSource February 2013

Vlakfontein has a comprehensive monitoring plan that will verify that the facility conforms to the required standards and site specific licence condition While ‘zero waste to landfill’ is an ultimate goal for the country, facilities such as these that accept hazardous and contaminated waste are in short supply. The substantial investment made by Vlakfontein will go a long way in providing the country with a world-class facility for the safe disposal of this type of waste, whether by landfilling, liquid treatment or hydroclave technologies.

This in turn, will assist in the reduction of the illegal and dangerous dumping of toxic waste products across our country and improve the environment. RéSource would like to thank Vlakfontein and Envitech Solutions for making the research and documentation into the development of this world-class site available for print.


Testing GCL shear strength The stability of landfill barrier systems is critical as there is no point in engineering a site and spending millions on compliance when the integrity of the liners is not adequate. A paper on developments of testing the long-term internal shear strength of geosynthetic clay liners in Europe was presented at WasteCon 2012.


he paper was presented by Burkard Lenze of Naue in Germany, one of the authors, and was co-authored by K Werth from Bauberatung Geokunststoffe, also in Germany. They say: “It is essential that the long-term internal strength and friction to adjacent components are defined under realistic stress conditions.” Geosynthetic clay liners (GCL) are composites of bentonite and geotextiles, and are used as a hydraulic barrier in sealing applications, most commonly as a barrier element in landfill caps and covers. Used either in combination with other liners, they function to inhibit the flow of precipitation into the landfill as well as preventing the escape of gas into the environment. Needle-punched GCLs are reinforced

composites that combine two durable geotextile outer layers and a uniform core of highly absorbent sodium bentonite clay to form a hydraulic barrier. These are an important trend toward the combined use of geosynthetics and clay materials as the low hydrated internal friction angle of the bentonite alone is overcome by the needle punching of all components creating a uniform shear stress transmitting GCL. The authors state: “The long-term shear behaviour of GCLs is important on slopes. The cover soil over the GCL permanently imposes a combined compression and shear stress, and thus the stability of the slope in the overall capping strongly depends on the shear behaviour of the different materials in such a system

– both internally and on the interface.” During the 1990s, the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing, known as BAM (Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und –prüfung), developed a methodology to study the internal long-term shear behaviour of geomembranes with friction services. They succeeded to estimate the long-term behaviour of these membranes under typical landfill cap confining stresses and slope inclinations. In 2000, Naue FIGURE 1 LEFT Installation of a GCL on a steep landfill slope (Pochsandhalde, Germany) RIGHT Idealised solid waste cap with various geosynthetic components FIGURE 2 LEFT Schematic view of a test equipment used to determine long-term shear strength RIGHT View of test device FIGURE 1


RéSource February 2013 – 29

FIGURE 3 Design basis on interface for cap lining systems against sliding on slopes

joined BAM to develop the methodology further for application on GCLs allowing for the measurement of time to failure at high temperature and in different liquids, as well as creep performance. The results of these tests allow for the estimation of ser vice lifetimes of these membranes. The testing was also expanded to use of long-term shear testing of geosynthetic drainage mats.

Testing In the long-term shear strength test, GCLs were tested at a maximum temperature of 80˚C with standard tap water. For landfill caps and covers, the standard tests ran with a 21.8-degree slope and a maximum load of 50 kPa, representing a cover soil load of 2.5 m. The time of failure was

load at a 21.8-degree(2.5:1) slope and in 80˚C water, to allow the conclusion that the product has a long-term realistic shear strength for 200 years for a landfill cap with a metre of soil as the confining stress and a maximum slope inclination of 3:1.” BAM and Naue tested both standard and specially produced GCLs of which the main differences were in the anchoring length and the strength of the needle-punched fibres. In addition, five polypropylene types and stabiliser packages were used. All GCLs were needle-punched and some had the patented Thermal Lock treatment. Woven and non-woven carrier layers were also included in the tests.

Results All the products were tested under temperatures of 40˚C, 60˚C and 80˚C. According to the authors: “A shear failure was not observed in any of the cases even after

It is essential that the long-term internal strength and friction to adjacent components are defined under realistic stress conditions used to extrapolate the service life of the selected conditions. During the procedure, a GCL specimen (around 12 x 13 cm) was sandwiched between two steel wedges. The carrier and cover geotextile were bonded to the respective wedge by hooking them to friction partners that were fixed to the upper and lower wedges. A textured geomembrane or metal food grate was used as friction partners. Using a lever mechanism, the upper wedge was subjected to 50 kN per square metres, comparable to the weight of 2.5 m of soil, in a heated water bath. Displacement sensors recorded vertical displacement over a period of time. The use of tap water also simulated realistic site conditions. “Based on decades of experience in longterm geomembrane testing, BAM determined that a GCL must pass a minimum failure time of 365 days under a 50 kPa

a test duration of up to 1 350 days, taking a permanent normal load of 50 kPa and permanent shear stress of 20 kPa (due to the slope angle of 21.8 degrees) into account. GCLs manufactured with highdensity polyethylene achieved slope failure in a shorter time frame in some cases, but this was not investigated further because nearly all standard GCLs are manufactured from polypropylene. In summary: “Long-term shear strength of GCLs was tested in tap water and simulated field conditions. After a three-year test duration, the dismantled specimens were completely intact by appearance and longterm shear strength tests were used to demonstrate the excellent long-term shear per formance of the Thermal Lock treated GCLs and GCLs with non-woven/woven composite barrier layers. Additionally,

30 – RéSource February 2013


testing on the geosynthetic components alone showed how important stabilisation packages are. However, in general the components of the GCL did not meet the GRIGCL-s specifications, which are considered to be minimum specification values. The authors concluded that for landfill cap stability, calculations against sliding interface friction between geosynthetic components as well as between geosynthetics and soils need to be verified in shear box

tests. Based on comprehensive experience gained from more than 800 shear box tests, the authors concluded that in inter face investigations, results will vary between laboratories; that difference sample sizes and operations will cause differing results; that bottom and top sides need to be considered; using results for stability calculations must be done with caution and in most cases, inter face friction against top or cover soils may be decisive.

This is an abridged version of ‘Landfill Covers with Steep Slopes: Requirements of longterm internal shear strength of Geosynthetic Clay Liners’ as presented at WasteCon 2012 in East London. For a copy of the full paper as well as references, please contact Burkard Lenze at FIGURE 4 Interface friction between geosynthetics and between geosynthetics and soils for cap lining systems

RéSource February 2013 – 31

Responsible Care An initiative of the Chemical Industry

Air pollution


Unpacking carbon tax in SA Experts in the field agree: carbon tax is coming, possibly this financial year or the next, and companies must ready themselves for this extra burden. But what will it entail and how ready is Treasury for implementation? Kyle Mandy, partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, examined these issues at a recent RéSource seminar. Yanna Erasmus reports.


ational Treasury has stated its intention to increase the contribution of environmental taxes and levies to total tax revenues. Mandy said: “The implementation of this policy commenced with the introduction of the electricity levy in 2009 and

continues with numerous environmental taxes at a national level having been introduced since then. In 2009, environmental taxes contributed R26.4 billion, around 4.2%, to total tax revenues and in 2013 it is expected to contribute R61.6 billion, some 7.4%.”

Environmental taxes are viewed as a mechanism to encourage responsible environmental practice and to mitigate the negative impacts economic activity has on the environment. To achieve this within an economic or business environment, Mandy said that market-based instruments are generally viewed as the most efficient and likely to result in least-cost abatement. However, this must be combined with complementary regulatory measures. Market-based instruments comply with the polluter-pays principle by imposing the cost of pollution on the polluter, whereas subsidies result in paying a polluter not to pollute and are only appropriate in conjunction with other instruments. Mandy explained that carbon tax and tradable permits are both marketbased instruments; however, the latter is not generally viewed as “appropriate for South Africa”.

Guiding principles How would such a tax be structured? Mandy highlighted that there are issues of horizontal or vertical equity, whereby those who can most afford to pay, pay more than those who can least afford to pay and those in an equal position pay the same amount. The matters of certainty in being able to determine the tax liability and of course simplicity are vital considerations, along with administration and compliance costs. The environmental effectiveness of these types of taxes is probably the most important tenet. The use of the actual revenue is also a matter that must be resolved. Complementary measures and the impacts of the competitiveness of companies must also be considered. Thus, commented Mandy: “We are nowhere near yet and carbon tax is likely to be implemented only in the next three years.”

Current environmental taxes Mandy summarised the current environmental taxes in place in South Africa and how effective they have been. The plastic bag levy – introduced in June 2004 at three cents a bag and since July 2009 at four cents a bag – brings in around R150 million in revenue, but the recycling initiatives that were introduced were a failure. had it not

32 – RéSource February 2013








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Air pollution

been for the accompanying regulations on minimum thickness of plastic bags and the agreement with large retailers to charge for these, the environmental effect would likely have been nil. The electricity levy now stands at 3.5 cents per kWh and will contribute some R8.6 billion to tax revenues by the end of the 2012/13 financial year. However, none of this money has been applied to envi-

features of this phase include a percentagebased exemption threshold at 60%, set higher for certain process emissions and trade exposed sectors. The rate has been suggested at R120 per tonne of carbon dioxide emissions above the said thresholds. Offsets are allowed up to a maximum of 10% and there is also the possibility of additional relief for reduced carbon intensity. Revenues currently have not been earmarked, but there is the possibility of some of this being directed to environmental spend. Thresholds are to be reduced in Phase 2 (from 2020 to 2025) and following this, absolute emissions thresholds may be possible. As mentioned, a 60% threshold has been set for the country’s sectors in the first phase. However, this threshold can be increased or decreased for relative carbon intensity and will be measured at the end of the year. This removes the element of certainty and knowing your liability, which is so essential in taxation. The overall tax-free threshold is to be capped at 90% of emissions. Trade exposure relief currently stands at 10%, but it is not certain whether this is enough. There are difficulties in classification of firms into sectors as well as the distinction within the given sectors. In addition – and this may be the most difficult challenge of them all – there are complex interactions between electricity and the other sectors. According to Mandy, the core concerns on

The implementation of carbon tax, however, can potentially have a duplicating effect... ronmental objectives. Filament lamp levies are currently at R3 a lamp and contribute R105 million, also with no environmental application. Finally, there is the environmental levy on carbon dioxide emissions of motor vehicles. Introduced on 1 September 2010 to passenger vehicles and extended to double cab pick-ups on 1 March 2011, the tax is calculated on emissions as per test report or proxy based on engine capacity. The revenue stands at R1.6 billion. This is, in essence, a carbon tax on potential emissions. The implementation of carbon tax, however, can potentially have a duplicating effect on this tax.

The carbon tax proposal Announced in the 2012 budget by finance minister Pravin Gordhan, a phased approach has been suggested. The first phase, from 2013/14 to 2019/20, suggests taxes to be levied on actual emissions. The design

34 – RéSource February 2013

the latest tax proposal include “whether the tax is to be levied on all emitters or only the large emitters, the possible lack of relief for consumers from tax on scope two or indirect emissions, the lack of border adjustments on imports and tax neutrality, the absence of mitigation agreement provisions and the lack of consideration of structural issues in the energy sector, particularly with regards to electricity”. In his conclusion, Mandy listed possible future environmental taxes that may become a reality in South Africa. These include wastewater discharge levies, air pollution charges, levies on waste products, landfill taxes, traffic congestion charges, motor vehicle licence fees and a review of taxation of transport fuels based on environmental impact and energy content. As can be seen, it is clear that a lot of work must still be done before carbon tax can efficiently be introduced into South Africa. While the red tape and structure thereof must still be hashed out, so to speak, this is not a measure to be ignored. Unless tangible long-term plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions become part and parcel of industry across the world, the effects will prove to be disastrous on the climate and, consequently, economics. The global carbon market is central towards this shift because money talks and drives change. Readers interested in more information can contact Kyle Mandy and PricewaterhouseCoopers at +27 (0)11 797 4977 or e-mail

The Health Care Waste Summit & Expo 2013: 15,16 & 17 May 2013 Emperor’s Palace Johannesburg The Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA) is proud to announce that we will be hosting the 3rd Biennial Health Care Waste Summit & Expo from 15 to 17 May 2013 at Emperor’s Palace, Johannesburg South Africa. This interactive summit and Expo will be the 3rd in a series of successful events as hosted by the Health Care Waste Forum (HCWF) of the IWMSA. With the Southern African HCW industry still experiencing disorder after a number of dramatic news reports of unlawful disposal and dumping, the time has come once again to pull together all industry stakeholders and participants to address to most crucial issues that affect the professional delivery of services within this sector of waste management in Southern Africa. With government and the private sector actively participating in the event over the past years, the event series surely provides the potential to create the best networking and benchmarking opportunity for this industry sector on the African continent. In addition, the event is also perfectly timed based on the industry’s event calendar. The Health Care Waste Summit & Expo 2013 is more than just a conference; it is a high-level meeting place of the largest leaders, experts and decisionmakers in the industry to design business models and to ensure pro¿table implementation and adherence to regulation over a short span of time. It is a stimulating conference experience with interactive panel discussions, case studies of successful medical waste solutions and facilitated open panel sessions for you to debate and deliberate the issues you are facing.

Theme and Call for Papers for 2013 In respect to the growing demand for information in both strategic and practical spheres of the health care waste management industry, the conference for 2013 will spread some light on the adherence and compliance to regulation and legislation as well as focusing on best practice strategies for implementation in the treatment and disposal of medical waste. The theme for this far-reaching forum is: “Uniting Through a Shared Medical and Environmental Responsibility”. Transportation, technologies for incineration, The Waste Act, disposal, awareness creation and best practice service delivery will be amongst the variety of the attention-grabbing topics that delegates can look forward to.

Even more! The Health Care Waste Summit & Expo 2013 provides an industry wide platform for service providers and health are waste generators to meet and develop new markets. Medical waste generators, service providers, transporters, manufacturers, distributors, users of treatment technologies, equipment providers, legislators, enforcement representatives, consultants, and advisors are but to name a few of the delegate composition within this successful event series. The Health Care Waste Summit & Expo 2013 will host a limited exhibition area details of which will be distributed later. In respect to dates and further communication based on the call for papers, conference program and exhibition layout, please look out for us online as we will be communicating all these in due time.

Contact us for more information For more information or to enquire about participation and partnership opportunities, please email André Snyman at or call +27(0) 83 44 88 233 We look forward to seeing you there! Greetings, The Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa

Air pollution

Carbon tax complexities Lindsay Strachan of SLR Consulting is a strong believer that the underlying aim of a carbon tax is the development and creation of cleaner energy that supports sustained economic demands and growth. RéSource recently interviewed Strachan on the complexities of carbon tax in the South African context. What do you view as the current aim of carbon tax? Undoubtedly, carbon has become the catchword for all greenhouse gases. The underlying aim of a carbon tax is the development and creation of cleaner (i.e. carbon-clean) energy that supports sustained economic demands and growth. While there are the ‘doom-mongers’ who are opposed to the carbon tax, anyone who has been involved in an ‘every kilowatt saving counts’ mindset of energy-efficiency projects and carbon projects – specifically carbon-energy projects that have gone the extra distance to produce energy, for example landfill gas-to-electricity, cogeneration projects, etc. – over the past decade are prepared for the new business climate under carbon tax. Over the past decade, SLR Consulting has been involved with the real-dealers of the lower carbon energy economy with the development of projects such as landfill gas to electricity, furnace waste gas-to-electricity with cogeneration, and biomass anaerobic digestion biogas to energy.

Why should the focus of carbon tax shift? It is not taking into account two crucial aspects: first, certain intensive energy users are not being held accountable; and second, benefits for voluntary actions – both past and going forward. It is the latter that has stimulated the carbon-energy market internationally and is set to dramatically expand from its current lowly 2% of international participation showing. A view of the GE-Jenbacher 620 gas engine gen-set. The bank of 10 cylinder heads on the one side is clearly shown

36 – RéSource February 2013

Why is there a focus on a lower carbon energy and economy?

Tony Stalberg, project technical manager/designer at SA Calcium Carbide, and Lindsay Strachan, project manager at SLR Consulting, at the start-up of the gas engines that are fed from furnace waste gas that was previously unused and flared

How real is the combatting of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions? How real is the contribution of South Africans going to be? The answers to these tough questions give us the key reasons to embrace lower carbon energy and economy. With good focus, we can achieve a lower carbon energy provision to South African energy users and, crucially for a country that is indeed still developing sustainably, achieve a profitable economy around the task of achieving this goal.

common cause: highlighting the demand for low carbon energy.

Why should carbon tax not be a source of funding? The action should inherently be voluntary. This must be clearly understood and is the foundation of the carbon economy internationally. In this way, the doers will gain and the talkers won’t, although there should be financial gains made by those who contribute successfully to the provision of a low carbon energy.

Globally, how are governments reacting? How realistic is this goal? We are unfortunately quite far away. One has only to notice the drop-off in interest of carbon energy and/or Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects when the carbon price drops, the process appears too difficult or a market (i.e. the European Union Emissions Trading System) falls away. The carbon tax is a useful mechanism to get all South Africans involved around a

A FIRST LOW-CARBON ENERGY – COGENERATION PROJECT GETS UNDER WAY The SA Calcium Carbide furnace waste gas to electricity cogeneration project was constructed and commissioned by December 2012. This project is an example of a lowcarbon-energy project stimulated by a lowcarbon economy and South Africa’s goals for sustainable development needs. The 8 MW project’s key objectives are: • energy security to support industrial growth requirements – reduced by the current energy availability and overall cost of supply • use of waste fuel-gas and cogeneration – using exhaust heat • realisation of carbon emission/greenhouse gas emission reductions by developing a CDM project. SA Calcium Carbide is located in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal, and has, with SLR (originally

The reaction is slow, with uncertainty, arrogance, and ignorance too – specifically on contributions towards developing low-carbonenergy projects and economy. South Africa and Africa have a significant part to play in the carbon economy by ensuring that future development is low-carbon development. While slow to come on board, South Africa and Africa as a whole can still take a bold step into the carbon economy. GreenEng) as their appointed project manager, developed an 8 MW capacity electricity generation capacity cogeneration project utilising their furnace waste off-gas. The power produced displaces existing Eskom fossil-fuel-derived electricity and exhaust heat is used in the aggregates drying kiln replacing LPG gas. SLR also project managed the successful registration of the project as a Clean Development Mechanism initiative – registered by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The project is termed as a ‘green energy’ project owed to the realisation of significant reductions in harmful greenhouse gas emissions; registered with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; reducing the use of fossil-fuel fired electricity; using previous waste gas as a fuel source; and providing cogeneration with the use of exhaust heat for SA Calcium Carbide’s processes.










Langkloof Bricks wins two Top Green Awards Langkloof Bricks, pioneers of the energy-efficient Vertical Shaft Brick Kiln technology in South Africa (SA-VSBK), has garnered two coveted Eastern Cape Top Green Awards from the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA), in association with the provincial Department of Economic Development and Environmental Affairs.


his significant feat is in recognition of the innovative practices undertaken by this Jeffreys Bay clay brick manufacturer to minimise its impact on the environment, by means of transforming waste tyres into a fuel resource for drying, in addition to contributing toward energy efficiency, air quality and climate change through the successful installation of the SA-VSBK brick-firing technology, almost a year ago. The awards were issued by the head of the Department of Economic Development and

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Environmental Affairs, Bulumko Nelana, and the president of the IWMSA, Deidré Nxumalo-Freeman. First Place in the Bronze Award Category, ‘Small Organisation with High Environmental Impact’, went to family-owned Langkloof Bricks, which also scooped the overall Innovation Award for its technical input in this sphere. The awards were issued at a glittering gala dinner, held at the East London International Convention Centre as part of the IWMSA’s biennial conference, WasteCon 2012.

Commenting on behalf of the Blake family, executive director of Langkloof Bricks, Nico Blake said: “We were not expecting any form of recognition. However, these accolades prove that we are on track with our waste management systems, in addition to using energy-efficient manufacturing methodologies, like the SA-VSBK as an integral part of our production processes.” The SA-VSBK is a continuous updraught kiln that reduces energy consumption during the brick-firing process by as much as


These accolades prove that we are on track with our waste management systems.” Nico Blake, executive director of Langkloof Bricks

ABOVE Peter (left) and Nico Blake with their award. Jez Rowe is seen behind

50%, resulting in dramatically reduced carbon emissions, fuel consumption, manufacturing costs and exceptionally low breakage percentages. The technology was brought into South Africa under the auspices of the SA-VSBK Project over a year ago, as part of the Swiss government’s Climate Change Mitigation Programme to reduce carbon emissions globally. Langkloof Bricks is the first clay brick manufacturer in this country to participate in this open source technology initiative, which has been made available through the Swiss Agency for Development and

Cooperation (SDC), with the implementation undertaken by Swisscontact (Swiss Foundation for Technical Cooperation) and Skat (Swiss Resource Centre and Consultancies for Development), which in turn consulted with a team of local experts in the field of clay brick manufacturing. The aim of the Top Green Organisation Awards programme is to promote and recognise responsible environmental management practices of organisations in the Eastern Cape while also fostering better relationships between government, industry, business and other organisations. The judging process entailed stringent site audits by a team of waste, air quality, climate change, environmental and safety specialists. While each company was measured against the same criteria, points were issued according to the size of the organisation and its commitment to minimising its environmental impact. “Jez Rowe of Rowe Construction must also be acknowledged as he was instrumental in the redesign and construction of these shafts, so much that we can now proudly proclaim the SA-VSBK’s to be a fully fledged South African design,” said Blake. RéSource February 2013 – 39

Hazardous waste


Novel approach to carcass disposal Dr Melanie Jones, a veterinarian based in Cape Town and founder of Zero to Landfill Organics, is running a trial on the composting of companion animal carcasses that are currently being taken to landfill. These carcasses become hazardous waste, particularly when infectious, which in turn is also the challenge to the possibility of composting. Yanna Erasmus investigates.


hile there are no official figures available, it is not rocket science to figure out that there are thousands of companion animal carcasses that are not incinerated by owners that must be disposed of in South Africa every year. A contractor that landfills animals in Cape Town estimates that around 2 000 carcasses are landfilled monthly in that city. This excludes those animals that die or are euthanised at veterinarians in the city. These animals, including those from veterinarians, which are not incinerated, are placed in special disposal bags and are taken to landfill. According to Jones: “The sizes of animals also vary greatly from 60 kg Rottweilers to 200 g puppies or kittens. The City of Cape Town is also landfilling whales and seals that are washed up on the beaches.” This may still be a novel concept in South Africa, but in both Canada and the US, road-killed wild animals have been composted for some time. According to an article published in BioCycle in November 2006, over 25 000 deer are killed on New York State

40 – RéSource February 2013

highways every year, in addition to like raccoons, coyotes and foxes. Pioneered by Cornell University’s Waste Management Institute in the early 2000s, these animals have been composted in various ways including static pile composting with wood chips. This has been rather successful as the temperatures achieved in the piles is sustained long enough and is high enough to generally kill the pathogens present. More research is being done into this issue by the university. Pennsylvania State University has also per formed its own research and both institutions have worked out a basic and relatively simple procedure. They advise that a well-drained site at least 200 feet from a water source is ideal. Woodchips and sawdust is then spread out in a windrow format, around five to seven feet wide. The animal is then placed on the sawdust in the centre of the row. One foot of sawdust is then placed between each

ABOVE A single heap BELOW Mortality composting in bins

animal and the next is then layered until the pile is around six feet high. A two-foot cover of sawdust or compost is then placed on top. After three to five months the pile can be turned. A 25:1 ratio of sawdust to animal (carbon to nitrogen) is ideal. If the pile becomes too wet, more sawdust and woodchips must be added. This sounds rather simple, but the quest to divert companion animal carcasses

Hazardous waste RIGHT The start of a compost heap; this one in California

from landfill is far more complicated, particularly in South Africa. By far, the bulk of companion animals that are landfilled are unwanted and uncared for. Hence, the presence of parvo and distemper viruses is commonplace and bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli must also be eliminated. Jones adds helminth eggs and the breakdown of pentobarbitone, the drug used to euthanise the animal, to this list. Jones has been running a small-scale trial in Cape Town. “Regarding our trial, the first animals that were composted have been reduced to bones and hair. There is very little flesh left and odour is minimal when the heap is opened. We are still experimenting with different carbon sources – wood chips, garden refuse and sawdust, for example.

We have divided the animals into different heaps to see what the best method of composting is. Due to the large amount of leachate the second heap has been built on plastic sheeting with sawdust around the edges to soak up the leachate.

In light of this, RéSource spoke with Kobus Otto of Kobus Otto & Associates, an expert in healthcare waste, based in Kempton Park.

Well-cared for pets also get killed on roads, but most pets killed on roads are in the vicinity of low-income residential areas. It is not viable to test any remains from animals killed on roads to determine whether the remains are infected with any diseases or not.

How do these remains affect water courses/resources?

As an expert, are you concerned about the high number of euthanised pets that are wrapped in black bags and being disposed of in landfills?

There is a risk of surface- and groundwater pollution in the event of the mortal remains being infectious. A risk assessment is therefore required in all instances where such remains are not incinerated or disposed of on legally compliant landfills.

Persistent viruses such as distemper and parvo virus are prevalent in South Africa with unwanted pets. In your opinion, are these very dangerous for our environment and how? Persistent viruses can result in animal anatomical waste being infectious. Animals from road-kill incidents are in most instances not well-maintained and inoculated pets, but are stray animals that are not looked after by their owners.

No. I see safe disposal of euthanised pets on legally compliant landfills as an environmentally sound way of reducing the spread of infections from such animals. With the upcoming standards for emissions from incinerators being very high, the costs associated with incineration of unwanted pet carcasses is very high and not affordable to the majority of people in South Africa. This is recognised by the Draft Standards for Disposal of Waste to Landfill that specifically provide for the disposal of non-infectious animal carcasses to Class B landfills. There are, however, certain

“I have been talking to UCT and the toxicology department at Onderstepoort about the testing of both the soil under the compost heap and the compost heap itself for drug residues. The trial is very small at the moment and ideally we would like to change

procedures to be followed for disposal of non-infectious animal carcasses to ensure that they are not exposed on the surface where they can spread diseases (that may not have been detected) or create nuisances like odours, vectors or rodents. Animal carcasses arriving on-site should either be disposed of in trenches excavated into the waste before being covered with waste, or alternatively be disposed of at the toe of the waste disposal working face, with the very next waste load being disposed of on top of the carcasses before the waste is compacted and covered with soil as part of the standard landfill operations procedures.

Any personal thoughts you would like to share? My personal view is that there is vast amounts of organic waste currently still disposed of on landfills that can be recovered for composting before we need to go the route of composting animal remains. If it is a matter of finding a means of disposing of animal remains, the draft HCRW Regulations makes

provision for the incineration of infectious animal carcasses, while the draft Standards for Disposal of Waste to Landfill provides for the disposal of uninfected carcasses. Should infected carcases accidentally arrive on a landfill, the procedure for proper disposal of the carcasses together with the comprehensive landfill lining system will limit the potential risk to the environment. Some experts in the waste industry agree. Most spoken to are of the opinion that there would be resistance from animal rights groups to mortality composting with companion animal carcasses and that the market for the compost would have to be industrial as opposed to the private consumer. In the absence of mass incineration, which is becoming more and more expensive, responsible landfilling remains the best option. In the absence of subsidised incineration options and with a focus of the diversion of waste from landfill, composting of animal remains can be viable, if good management practices are applied.

RéSource February 2013 – 41

Hazardous waste RIGHT Private mortality composting in the US

to in-vessel composting once we can prove that the drug residue and pathogens will not be a problem and we can scale up the volumes. Unfortunately, all the studies I have found from overseas are based on livestock or animals killed on roads as they don’t have South Africa’s problem of thousands of unwanted or diseased dogs and cats that are euthanised every year, so this study seems to be unique in the fact that companion animals are being composted. I am busy preparing a paper on our processes to document our findings and results; I’m not sure how long it will take to get the process right and determine the optimal composting conditions.” In a study performed by Cornell on the decay rate of drugs including pentobarbital, a comparison was made between burial and composting. In both cases, the drug had fully decayed by three months, although with the composting site it was picked up in the leachate. The conclusion, however, is: “When done properly, mortality composting

protects ground- and surface water and composting of euthanised livestock appears to break down pentobarbital and phenylbutazone, thus rendering the finished product safe for wildlife and domestic use.” Best practice, as listed by Cornell, include that carcasses must be added in a timely fashion with lumens lanced; the piles must be well shaped, neat and not too big; and that ground- and surface water protection are paramount. The latter can be achieved by using compost berms, filter strips, diversion berms, collection lagoons and tanks, and keeping the site mowed and clean.

Expert opinion The National Draft Healthcare Risk Waste (HCRW) Management Regulations state that no person may treat anatomical and isolation waste in a technology other than incineration. Anatomical waste also includes “deceased animals or animal parts infected with zoonotic diseases and includes an animal kept at a laboratory for the purposes of biological or scientific research and testing, but excludes human teeth, hair and nails, and animal carcasses regulated by the Animal Health Act (Act No 7 of 2002)”.

42 – RéSource February 2013

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Plastics conference


Plastics conference to address industry issues The South African plastics industry will be debating various issues that impact on its growth and future prospects with the first ever industry-specific conference, hosted by Plastics|SA.


ptly entitled ‘Plastics: The Future for Growth’, this one-day conference will take place on Wednesday, 13 March 2013 and promises to be one of the highlights of this year’s Pro-Plas Conference at the Nasrec Exhibition Centre, south of Johannesburg. “We are very excited about hosting a conference that will create a platform for open dialogue, the sharing of ideas and soliciting of various opinions on issues that affect our industry,” says Anton Hanekom, Plastics|SA’s executive director. “We have deliberately tried to move away from the traditional approach to conferences. Instead of the regular speakers addressing audiences on old topics, we will be having three lively debates, during

46 – RéSource February 2013

which well known, investigative journalists will lead a panel of experts in discussions. Thanks to the use of technology, delegates will be able to influence the discussions taking place on the stage by electronically sending their questions and comments to the moderator, or by voting on issues being discussed in real-time,” Hanekom explains. The conference will consist of the following exciting line-up: • Opening keynote address by Dr Wilfried Haensel, executive director of PlasticsEurope, sponsored by Engen Petroleum. • Debate 1: “Growing the South African Plastics Industr y”, sponsored by Sasol Polymers and moderated by Freek Robinson.

• Lunch, sponsored by Safripol. • Debate 2: “What impacts on plastics packaging?”, sponsored by Polyoak Packaging and moderated by Jeremy Maggs. • Debate 3: “Are plastics sustainable?”, sponsored by PETCO and moderated by Ruda Landman. • Cocktail function and awards ceremony, sponsored by ColorMatrix, a subsidiary of PolyOne Corporation. According to Hanekom, industry experts representing diverse points of view have been invited to be part of the panel of four and will lead each discussion. “It is important that everyone has the opportunity to share their point of view and discuss pertinent issues and this innovative way of interacting will certainly facilitate that. Part of the excitement is that we have no idea where the discussions may lead. While we may not necessarily resolve all the issues at hand, we will be talking about it and encouraging open dialogue with a mutual respect and passion for issues that form the heartbeat of our industry,” he says. Entrance to the conference will cost R650.00 per person for members of Plastics|SA and R800.00 for non-members. This price includes VAT, two tea and coffee breaks, lunch and attendance to the cocktail function and awards ceremony that evening. Hanekom says that registrations are already under way and can be done online at “We are expecting close to 300 people and would encourage people to book and pay in advance in order to avoid disappointment.” For more information, contact: Monya Vermaak Marketing & communications executive: Plastics|SA Tel: +27 (0)11 653 4787 or Monique Holtzhausen AiM Marketing & Communications Consultants Tel: +27 (0)21 531 0313

Health care waste


Responsible disposal a global challenge The global community continues to face challenges in the disposal of health care waste, particularly in low-income or developing countries where training and finance are limited. Yanna Erasmus reports.


he World Health Organisation (WHO) says that about 80% of the total amount of waste generated by health care activities across the world is general waste, with the remainder being classified as hazardous. Of this 20%, some 15% can be considered infectious and anatomical in nature. Sharps represent some 1%, but are the world’s major source of disease transmission. Chemicals and pharmaceuticals account for about 3% of waste from health- activities while genotoxic waste, radioactive matter and heavy metal content account for around 1% of the total health care waste. The amount of waste generated per hospital bed varies greatly across the world. According to the WHO, high-income countries generate on average up to 0.5 kg of hazardous waste per bed per day, while low-income countries generate on average 0.2 kg of hazardous waste per hospital bed per day. Research performed by Ghassan Obid, a senior waste management expert in Germany, and published on Waste Management World, provides a little more detail. In Beijing, the average is 0.15 kg while in Germany it stands around 0.05 kg for a municipal hospital. Thailand produces around 0.23 kg and hospitals in Bogotá, Colombia, produce 1.2 kg daily. The primary challenge, however, comes in when health care waste is not sorted as it should be and hazardous waste is disposed of along with general waste. This, says the WHO, is oftentimes the reality in low-income countries. According to the organisation, around 16 billion injections are administered every year. It estimates that in 2000, injections with contaminated syringes caused 21 million hepatitis B virus infections, two million hepatitis C virus infections and 260 000 HIiv infections worldwide. Many of these infections were avoidable if the syringes had been disposed of safely. The reuse of disposable syringes and needles for injections is particularly common in some African, Asian, and central and eastern European countries.

During June 2000, six children were diagnosed with a mild form of smallpox after having played with glass ampoules containing expired smallpox vaccine at a dump in Vladivostok, Russia. More recently, The New Vision newspaper in Uganda reported that dangerous and hazardous waste is being dumped near Jinja, at an informal settlement of around 10 000 people, known as Masese 3. Residents report that raw, rotten chicken, chemicals, antibiotics and antifungal drugs are being disposed of on their doorstep. Near Lake Victoria, concerns have arisen about leachate. The newspaper reported that the Jinja municipal council’s environment officer, Ernest Nabihamba, downplayed the likely environment and health effects of leachate to the community. “Leachate secreted at the waste management plant is controlled and collected. We have ensured that the one generated from the landfill does not flow into the community,” he says. He added: “Soil is a filter, so leachate is filtered down and there is no threat to the underground water because the

water table in the area is about 20 m down.” He also said that leachate produced at the garbage site does not have the potential to pollute Lake Victoria. “Lake Victoria is 4 km away. So by the time rain water reaches the lake, it has been filtered through the wetlands. So nothing dangerous goes into the lake.” With uncontrolled disposal such as reported on in Masese 3, the risk is not only to communities close to disposal sites, but also to the informal reclaimers so common in developing countries. The WHO says: “In developing countries, additional hazards occur from scavenging at waste disposal sites and the manual sorting of hazardous waste from health care establishments. These practices are common in many regions of the world. The waste handlers are at immediate risk of needle-stick injuries and exposure to toxic or infectious materials.” WHO says radioactive often does not receive the attention that it deserves. “The use of radiation sources in medical and other applications is widespread throughout the world. Occasionally, the public is exposed to radioactive waste, which originates from

The amount of waste generated per hospital bed varies greatly across the world

RéSource February 2013 – 47

Health care waste

radiotherapy treatment that has not been disposed of properly. Serious accidents weere documented in Brazil in 1988 (where four people died and 28 had serious radiation burns), Mexico and Morocco in 1983, Algeria in 1978 and Mexico in 1962.” According to Obid, the lack of adequate funding remains a serious issue, “particularly for publicly operated hospitals in middle- and low-income countries. Managers naturally look at what offers the best performance for the money available”. His research has shown that different systems apply across the world, which includes embedding the infectious waste in a landfill conta containing municipal wa solid waste or using spe-

infectious agents do not have a long lifetime under landfill conditions”. Incineration is punted as the best recourse for dealing with infectious health care waste, but this too has its own challenges. If incinerators are aged and not regulated, mercury and dioxin emissions become a serious threat to communities living close by. Obid says: “Traditionally many hospitals in western Europe and the US ran their own incinerators. This had the major advantages of disinfecting the medical wastes completely and reducing the amount of waste requiring transport and disposal elsewhere. Mercury emissions from medical waste incineration originate from thermometers, blood pressure gauges, batteries or amalgam that are discarded incorrectly as medical waste in the hospital. Dioxins are generated due to the presence of chlorine in the waste, caused by PVC and, in some countries, by chlorine used in chemical disinfection. The implementation of higher emission standards has increased

Incineration is punted as the best recourse for dealing with infectious health care waste... ciall cially designed landfills. He writes that “most 48 – RéSource February 2013

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the cost of running a waste incinerator, both in terms of labour and flue gas scrubbing. As a result, many of the small hospital incinerators in Europe and the US have been shut down, so larger, centralised facilities have emerged.” In the US, some 85% of health care waste is incinerated. Historically, the generators of medical waste relied on smaller plants to incinerate their waste, but after new regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency were introduced in 1997, many smaller facilities shut down. “The new centralised plants, equipped with high-standard flue gas cleaning equipment, often serve a region with 10 million or more inhabitants and incinerate approximately 15 to 20 t per day. However, the higher costs of using these facilities (particularly transport costs) are prompting hospitals to apply disinfection methods on their premises.” The same has occurred in South Africa. Smaller facilities that did not comply were shut down and there is a shortage of compliant incineration facilities to dispose of medical waste.

Panel introduction


The A to Z of landfills Waste of all shapes, sizes and types are produced as a by-product of daily activity. Many of these waste streams are extremely hazardous and require specialised treatment and/or disposal methods.


hile South Africa is on a drive to minimise waste and apply the waste hierarchy where landfilling is the final option, we are not there yet. Diversion of waste to landfill may be the buzzwords in the waste industry in South Africa, but in reality the country still relies heavily on landfilling for both municipal and hazardous waste. Tenders are still being put out and awarded for landfill sites and many are still in use across the country. Small municipalities rely on landfilling and so too do the the metros

of South Africa. Landfills, if not properly engineered, designed and maintained, pose a human- and environmental health hazard. As such, it is important for landfill sites to be pristine in their structure, categorisation and day-to-day functioning. Environmental impacts on the groundwater resources and the surrounding ecosystems are vital considerations. The main challenge here is, of course, that members of the public do not want landfills to be close to residential areas and the land far

away from these is generally greenfield, which further increases transport costs for waste disposal. Landfills must be well designed and above all, leachate as well as methane gas production must be controlled. During its lifespan, a landfill must be monitored for the type of waste disposed of, the total waste incoming, covering of the landfill daily and the management of informal reclaimers. And at the end of its life, it must be rehabilitated. This takes expert knowledge and experience. Yanna Erasmus talks to these experts about landfill design, challenges, innovations and technology. RéSource February 2013 – 49


Over the last 50 years, 3S MEDIA has evolved into a modern-day print and digital media company that offers businesses and professionals in various spheres the leading edge to grow and develop their vocations, disciplines and/or companies. 3SMEDIA publishes: ‡IMIESA ‡ IMESA Yearbook ‡ Inside Mining ‡ Infrastructure Intelligence Meetings SA ‡ ‡ Occupational Risk Online ‡ ReSource SA Conference Directory ‡ Transport World Africa ‡ Water&Sanitation Africa ‡ tel: +27 (0)11 233 2600 ‡ fax: +27(0) 11 234 7275 ‡ No 4, 5th Avenue, Rivonia, 2191 ‡ PO Box 92026, Norwood, 2117


Panel discussion Jabulile Msiza, Associate: Jones & Wagener What is the central focus of your company in relation to waste management? Jones & Wagener has been active in the field of waste and tailings management for the past 27 years. Our involvement covers the design and operational input to commercial waste disposal facilities (both general and hazardous); landfill gas extraction, conveyance and destruction; mining waste; and industrial waste.

What is unique about the services that your firm provides? We provide a complete professional service encompassing initial planning, classification, environmental authorisation, design and project execution. Our involvement often extends to operational advice and ongoing surveillance. Our geotechnical capabilities complement our expertise in the areas of geosynthetic and mineral clay barriers and liner stability, as well as siting of waste facilities. We strive to keep abreast of the latest technology in waste management by regular

attendance and presentations at local and international conferences. Our staff actively participate in professional societies such as SAICE (South African Institute of Civil Engineers and its branches), the IWMSA and the GIGSA (Geosynthetic Interest Group of South Africa).

Jones & Wagener deals with varied waste streams, including tailings. How is the management of this different from other hazardous waste streams such as health care waste? Tailings facilities are much larger in size and have a

What are the essential features a landfill or waste site must possess to have environmental synchrony? An engineered barrier system to separate the waste body from the receiving environment along with a good drainage system to drain resulting leachates from the waste body without building up excessive pressure on the barrier. Good stormwater and leachate management systems to prevent the escape

We strive to keep abreast of the latest technology in waste management by regular attendance and presentations at local and international conferences complex filling sequence that ensures the stability of the structure as a whole. Failures of these facilities are catastrophic, hence regular surveillance of freeboard and stability is extremely important.

What, in your opinion, are the greatest challenges to efficient landfill management in South Africa? The greatest challenges are the shortage of civil engineering skills and general awareness of engineering principles particularly in relation to landfill operation. This is critical especially at local government level.

Barrier installation at a hazardous waste disposal facility

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No amount of engineering design can compensate for poor management of the landfilling operation.

of contaminants prior to the capping and rehabilitation of the landfill. Monitoring systems to monitor the performance of installed systems, waste pile stability, groundwater and stormwater quality.

What are your recent accomplishments/ flagship projects? We have designed and are currently supervising the construction of a 5 million square metres large ash storage facility with a storage capacity of 425 million cubic metres. When completed, this will be the fourth largest coal-fired power station in the world and the first dry ash dump to be lined in South Africa. We’ve also designed and are supervising the construction of one of the first hazardous waste cells to be designed and approved as per new draft standards for Disposal of Waste to Landfill at South Africa’s largest H:H privately owned landfill site. On rehabilitation,

we have undertaken a study on internationally accepted and alternative capping designs for a large industrial waste facility and have designed the instrumented plots for the pilot testing of the capping designs chosen. A number of these designs are innovative and will use waste materials available on-site.

Where have your recent growth areas been? Our environmental engineering division has expanded, with a new branch in Centurion specialising in the rehabilitation design of opencast mines and discard/waste dumps. We have developed rehabilitation design tools and methodologies that optimise the construction costs with environmental impacts to achieve sustainable final post rehabilitation landforms. Also, we are actively involved with and continually improve the development of best practice management systems to be applied with construction, ensuring the implementation of the rehabilitation works are efficiently carried out. We are currently involved with the rehabilitation design of a combined 2 400 ha opencast pit complex with a currently estimated volume of material to be moved in the order of 125 million cubic metres to achieve final rehabilitation levels. With our optimisation techniques, we aim to reduce this volume by approximately 15%, while achieving a natural sustainable post-rehabilitation environment and regaining a land-use suitable for future generations.

Panel discussion Stan Jewaskiewitz, Director: Envitech Solutions What is Envitech’s primary function or focus when it comes to landfills? Envitech Solutions provides an environmentally sound solution for the safe disposal of wastes, including both general and hazardous wastes. We provide the full range of services in landfill engineering from site selection through to geotechnical and hydrogeological site investigations, infrastructure design, landfill cell and lining systems design, including leachate and landfill gas management systems. One of our specialities is the performance of Construction

In your view, what are the major shortcomings of noncompliant landfills in South Africa? Most landfills in South Africa are owned and operated by municipalities. Although some metros and larger municipalities make adequate provision for the proper construction or development of landfills and the operations and management thereof, there are too many municipalities that fall short of what could be considered to be acceptable in terms of waste disposal practices. The major shortcomings include:

We believe that for many years to come, landfills will still be required for the final disposal of wastes until such time that alternative treatment and disposal solutions are put in place Quality Assurance on projects where complex lining systems are being constructed and which include geosynthetic materials such as geomembranes (HDPE, fPP, etc.), geotextiles and geosynthetic clay liners. We have carried out a number of these assignments both in South Africa and in the Middle East. In recent years we have also been involved in the development of a number of landfill gas-to-electricity projects in South Africa, with the first project of its kind being carried out in Durban for eThekwini Municipality.

• lack of political will to ensure that sufficient provision is made in terms of resources, including human and financial resources • lack of adequately trained and experienced personnel in waste management, particularly in the operating and management of landfill sites • lack of adequate budget to procure and maintain the appropriate equipment and plant that is required • lack of planning for the development of future landfill facilities with the result

that many municipalities and even metros are running out of airspace, which is a major concern • many existing landfills are not licensed or permitted, and in many instances are incorrectly located or managed, with significant environmental impact • many of the existing landfills can best be described as dumps as no proper operational or management procedures are in place and most of the wastes dumped there are burnt in open fires, causing air pollution in and around the sites.

What are the challenges of rehabilitating a landfill after closure? The rehabilitation of a landfill site after closure mainly involves assessing whether the landfill has previously impacted on or is currently impacting on the environment. Having assessed the extent of any impact, mitigation measures need to be implemented in the rehabilitation or closure design. Another important aspect is the after use of the site and its suitability for use by the local community. Development on top of closed landfill sites is usually not possible due to the potential settlement of the waste body, which makes it very difficult to provide stable foundation conditions for houses or any other buildings. Another major challenge is post closure maintenance and care, including the ongoing management of leachate and landfill gas emanating from the closed landfill. Depending on the location and shape of the site, the rehabilitated landfill could, however, be used for sport fields, nature trails, mountain bike or motorcycle trails.

Can you share any of your most innovative or unique LEFT The eThekweni landfill gas-toelectricity project at Bisasar Road Landfill in Durban

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applications of landfill design as completed by Envitech? We subscribe to the waste hierarchy as enshrined in the Waste Act and the National Waste Management Strategy, which essentially promotes waste minimisation, waste reduction and recycling as a priority. However, we believe that for many years to come, landfills will still be required for the final disposal of wastes until such time that alternative treatment and disposal solutions are put in place. Even then, there will always be a residue of some kind requiring disposal to landfill. This is particularly so when considering the affordability of alternative solutions and the lack of resources to implement even basic disposal facilities. For this reason, in designing new landfills, we tend to look at ways of integrating the landfill facility into the surrounding environment and community. In terms of the landfill site itself, we look at ways of “greening” the site and, in particular, look at developing a nature conservancy on the site should the site be large enough to facilitate this. A good example of this would be the Mariannhill landfill site near Durban. Another option is to incorporate the landfill site into a larger nature conservancy area that includes the surrounding community. An example of this would be the new Vlakfontein Hazardous Waste Facility near Vereeniging, which has recently received a waste licence and is due to be constructed this year. The new waste treatment and landfill facility is located within a

ABOVE LEFT Deployment of HDPE geomembrane on 1 million square metres landfill site in Qatar ABOVE RIGHT Landfill gas pumping trial at Luuipaardsvlei landfill

registered nature conservancy. In terms of technical innovation, we constantly strive to keep abreast of international developments, in particular the design of landfill lining systems involving geosynthetics. In this regard, we work closely with manufacturers and installers of lining systems to ensure that a practical and costeffective solution is arrived at to benefit both the client and the environment. Finally, we look at facilities that can be put in place at the landfill site to reduce the actual amount of waste being disposed of in the landfill. These include waste treatment plants and materials recovery facilities, which can also be used as a means of job creation for the local community.

Are waste-to-energy applications effective on landfills in terms of cost and return? Waste-to-energy applications essentially comprise two avenues for the disposal of wastes. Firstly, waste can be treated directly using thermal or non-thermal technologies to produce energy and the residue is reused or disposed of in a landfill. Secondly, wastes can be disposed of in a landfill and landfill gas is generated through the decomposition of the organic fraction of the waste. The landfill gas, comprising mostly methane and carbon dioxide, can then be used as an energy source to produce heat, steam or generate electricity in a gas engine. Landfill gas-to-electricity projects have already been implemented

in South Africa and some of them have proved to be viable. The financial viability of any waste to energy application is dependent on a number of factors and these include the capital cost, operational cost and the revenue that can be derived from the sale of the energy. Due to the high cost of these technologies, a waste-to-energy project is normally integrated into a waste disposal system that includes other processes such as recycling, composting, etc. These processes give rise to other revenue streams, which aid the financial viability of the project. Waste-to-energy applications can therefore be cost effective depending on size and location, and more importantly, the market for the sale of the energy and the sale of other products, such as recyclables and compost, etc. These applications are generally not suited to small landfill sites.

What recent landfill projects have you completed? Some of our recent landfill projects include: • the closure design and licensing of the Henley-on-Klip landfill site near Vereeniging • the design and licensing of the Lepelle-Nkumpi landfill near Polokwane • the design of the new Olifantsfontein landfill site for a private owner • the design and licensing of the new Vlakfontein Waste Treatment and Disposal Facility, for hazardous waste, for a private client.

RéSource February 2013 – 53

Environmental Engineering Integrated Waste Management Recycling, Composting, Anaerobic Digestion & Thermal Treatment Waste-to-Energy Landfill Engineering, Liner Design and CQA Landfill Gas Management & Power Generation Leachate Management & Treatment Mine Waste Management, Closure & Rehabilitation

Panel discussion Jan Palm, Engineer and owner: Jan Palm Consulting Engineers What is the central focus of your company in relation to landfill engineering? We specialise in the design of all classes of landfills, general as well as hazardous. We aim to design landfills that are practical to construct and operate, with the main focus being on effectively providing a barrier between groundwater and the waste body. We feel that construction quality assurance (CQA) by qualified and experienced staff is just as essential to landfill engineering as the design itself.

In your view, what are the essential elements of a wellengineered general waste landfill? The landfill will have to be well engineered in terms of stability and also have a leachate drainage system designed towards effective leachate drainage to minimise the static head on the lining system. We also view manufacturing quality assurance (MQA) as well as CQA of the lining system as an integral part in the process of establishing a well-engineered landfill facility. The best designed lining system would be rendered useless if not installed/ constructed properly. It obviously makes the design and operation of a landfill

much easier when the landfill is suitably located with regards to the receiving environment and local climatic conditions.

Please share some of your most innovative and/or challenging designs. Vissershok H:H Waste Management Facility The rehabilitation of Cell 3C at Vissershok H:H Waste Management Facility outside Cape Town was a challenging design. It is a mono-cell containing contaminated sand and the client requested the sand be isolated from the rest of the waste in the landfill. The capping consisted of the following: • bulk earthworks to shape 1:3 side slopes and final shape on top of the cell • 150 mm thick base preparation layer on the top of the cell • 1.5 mm HDPE geomembrane (supplied and installed by Geosynthetic Contractor) • 200 mm thick sand protection layer on top of the geomembrane on the top of the cell • 300 mm thick stone leachate drainage layer (38 mm crushed stone) on top of the cell • perforated HDPE leachate drainage pipe in the stone drainage layer

Vissershok H:H Waste Management Facility

• Naue 120/40 R6 reinforcing grid on the northern and western 1:3 slopes (supplied and installed by Geosynthetic Contractor) • 300 mm thick sand protection layer on top of the geomembrane on the 1:3 side slopes • 200 mm thick topsoil on the northern and western 1:3 side slopes as growth medium • Kaytech soil saver over the topsoil • hydro-seeding of the northern and western slopes. The biggest challenge on the project was the placing of the sand protection layer on the 1:3 slopes on top of the HDPE. A reinforcing grid was used to prevent the sand from sliding down the slope, but due to the HDPE capping the grid could not be anchored on top of the cell. A run-out length on top of the cell had to be designed for the grid to provide sufficient “anchorage” from the weight of the sand on top of it. The grid must be able to not only carry the weight of the sand and topsoil, but also the construction plant during the installation process. The design was done in conjunction with NAUE, Germany, which also supplied all the geosynthetic material for the project.

City of Windhoek: Kupferberg Landfill We were appointed to design and supervise the construction of various waste containment facilities at the Kupferberg Landfill outside Windhoek, Namibia. One of the biggest challenges in the design was that most of the future new cells were constructed on top of old waste bodies. The underlying waste in these areas are very old (1974 as indicated from dug-up newspapers) and most

54 – RéSource February 2013

of the secondary settlement (due to biodegradation of the waste) had already taken place. We were still concerned that some settlement could occur. The cells constructed on top of old waste were all designed to be shallow cells to prevent excavations in waste. The following steps were taken to minimise the effect of possible settlement underneath the cells: • reinforcing grids were installed underneath the lining system to prevent/minimise localised settlement • selected fill was imported to construct a solid base underlying the lining system • all the cell floors were also designed steeper than usual to maintain free draining even in the event of some settlement • overlaps in the geosynthetic clay layers (GCL) were increased to avoid panel separation in case of possible settlement • cells were designed with two separate low points (sumps) in the event of a blockage/ failure of one • the cell floors were designed and constructed with a ‘bulge’ in the middle to allow for possible settlement and if there was any, to prevent the forming of a low point in the middle of the cell as a result. Due to the unavailability of clay, all lining systems consisted of geosynthetic material, except the leachate drainage layer, which was crushed stone, and the HDPE protection layer, which was clean imported sand. HDPE

Panel discussion

was used in conjunction with GCL as a composite liner. Geosynthetic flow nets were used as the leakage detection drainage medium. Due to the extreme heat during daytime, the covering of the sand protection layer on top of the HDPE would have been difficult due to the waves in the HDPE as a result of its high thermal expansion coefficient. In the contract specifications we addressed this by specifying that the covering of the HDPE can only be done early in the morning or late afternoon when the HDPE will be in a flat state.

What are your recent accomplishments/flagship projects? If looking at only landfill projects, the following: • City of Windhoek (Namibia):

Drakenstein Municipality for the establishment of a wasteto-energy facility to divert waste from landfill. • Assistance with the establishment of long-term (more than three years) public-private partnerships for Swartland and Overstrand municipalities for the operation of their landfills. Kupferberg Landfill

Design and CQA of hazardous cells, general cells, leachate lagoon and contaminated stormwater dam at the Kupferberg Landfill outside Windhoek. • Enviroserv: Ongoing design and CQA of new cells (waste) and encapsulation cells (high hazardous waste) at the Vissershok H:H Waste Management Facility, Cape Town.

• Stellenbosch Municipality: Design and CQA of new Cell 3 at the Stellenbosch Landfill (G:M:B+). • Overstrand Municipality: Design and CQA of a new cell at the Gansbaai G:M:BLandfill Facility. • Identification of new regional landfills for West Coast and Cape Winelands district municipalities • Transactional advisors for

What differentiates your service from others in the industry? We believe that our many years of experience in municipal solid waste-related projects provide us with an intimate understanding of not only waste and its associated challenges, but also of municipal systems. Due to this advantage, we can be more innovative in our approach towards designs and strategies. RéSource February 2013 – 55

Specialist Waste Management Consultants Sustainable and appropriate engineering solutions with integrity and professionalism. Stanford Drop-off Vissershok Waste Management Facility

Gansbaai Recycling Centre

Velddrif Transfer Station

t t t t t t t t t t t t

Integrated Waste Management Plans Waste Disposal Strategies Identification and permitting of landfill sites Design of General and Hazardous Waste sites Design of Solid Waste Transfer Stations Design of Material Recovery Facilities Optimisation of Waste Collection Systems Auditing of Waste Management Facilities Development of Operational Plans Closure and Rehabilitation of Landfills Quality Assurance on Synthetic Liners Waste Recycling Plans

Hermanus Materials Recovery Facility

Botrivier Drop-off

Jan Palm Consulting Engineers Tel +27 21 982 6570

/ Fax +27 21 981 0868 / E-mail /



A realistic perspective of energy optimisation considerations by Rudi Scheepers*, Marlene vd Merwe-Botha**

Engineers and wastewater treatment plant owners have historically not considered power consumption as a critical design parameter in the South African wastewater industry, as the country has experienced an abundance of low-priced electricity for many years. support higher order energy considerations in the wastewater industry, in order to influence perspectives and advance principles and incentives that would guide regulators and parastatals in assuming a development role in a sustainable and compliant future municipal wastewater sector.



his picture has changed dramatically. Eskom introduced energy tariff increases of 25% per annum over a three-year period up to 2012, followed by further annual increases estimated at 7% over a seven-year period. To add to the pressure, the Department of Water Affairs is increasing regulatory pressure on municipalities to comply with stricter effluent discharge standards. Literature indicates that current trends are to opt for advanced treatment technologies with associated high energy requirements in order to achieve the more exacting effluent quality requirements. The cumulative effect is that energy has become the highest single cost item (along with man-hours) on the balance sheet of municipalities and a critical performance driver and enabler. Plant managers are already faced with the challenge to reduce treatment costs with limited budgets, burdened by ageing plants with mechanical equipment that is not operated with energy efficiency as

56 – RÊSource February 2013

precursor. The net impact is that the everincreasing cost of providing municipal water services within the boundaries of legislation is likely to be passed on to the consumer via higher public municipal tariffs. It is has become imperative to optimise energy efficiency and develop opportunities for energy generation from wastewater and sludge as part of the municipal wastewater business. International best estimates indicate that energy gains and savings of 5 to 30% are realistic, and that 100% selfsustainability in power supply is possible. Local indications are that up to 60% of the energy requirements can be achieved by the implementation of cell lysis processes with combined heat and power (CHP) production. These opportunities can only be realised if the key players have a baseline from where to conceptualise and formulate a cohesive development plan to address the key risks associated with the water-energy nexus. The paper focuses on setting a baseline to

Key issues are to be addressed if government, municipalities and water sector stakeholders (professional service providers and private operators) are to prepare adequately for a sustainable and compliant wastewater treatment industry. Apart from man-hours, energy is becoming the single most critical performance enabler and cost driver on the balance sheets of municipal wastewater treatment plants in South Africa, with potentially far reaching economic, social and environmental consequences. The cost of municipal services tariffs are escalating at a rate that exceeds the ability of the consumer to pay, as is evident in the increasing number of municipalities that battle to achieve acceptable payment levels. Whereas this has previously affected smaller towns and municipalities, the trend is spreading to also impact on cities and metropolitan municipalities (Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, 2009). It is against this backdrop that the rationale that effluent quality requirements and the associated costs to achieve such qualities must be assessed. Higher levels of service (e.g. waterborne sewers) and more advanced treatment technology (e.g. activated sludge biological nutrient removal) are generally associated with higher costs. If higher levels of service are not affordable, the ability of a municipality to recover its costs is negatively affected, threatening the


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revenue base and the financial sustainability of the municipality. Energy efficiency is a critical component along the value chain of sustainable service provision and responsible life cycle infrastructure development. The global water sector is already seen to look beyond the ambit of conventional treatment to also concentrate on a sustainable relationship between water and energy (electricity). South Africa is already exploring and pilotscaling a project associated with the supply and demand side in the greater uptake of energy from the wastewater sector (Burton et al., 2009).

Water-energy nexus Energy and water have a symbiotic relationship and wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) contribute to this connection. WWTPs in the US contribute between 0.1 to 0.3% of the total energy consumption of the country (WEF, 1997). It becomes increasingly evident that the impact of the rising demand for both of these recourses is imminent. The global water industry is exploring methods of moving and treating water and wastewater that are environmentally sustainable and economically viable. This global approach to balance these two resources is illustrated in Figure 1. Over and above the demand for higher levels of service and technologies, climate change is also affecting the water cycle. Some of its impacts can be mitigated through technical developments and social, economic and environmental response, as is demonstrated in Australia. Key energy demand areas are: pumping over wide service areas, asset condition and pipe leakage, treatment by aeration and pumping raw and treated effluent (Global Water Research Coalition 2010, Turton, 2008). Electricity cost has become an important driver to treat wastewater, which resulted in new and amended technology introduced to the market in the last 20 years. The standard approach across the globe will be to optimise the equipment and systems for a sustainable and cost-effective future. There is strong evidence that up to 15% of wastewater energy demand can be offset by biogas generation and CHP. Pumping represents upwards of 30% for wastewater; however, aeration presents up to 60% or more of the usage for the service (Global Water Research Coalition, 2010).

58 – RéSource February 2013

FIGURE 1: Schematic illustration of the water–energy resource nexus showing the connectivity among the three entities in a balanced sphere

The best opportunities for reducing energy demand seems to be linked to the high usage components.

Electricity supply in South Africa Eskom generates 95% of South Africa’s electricity and 45% of Africa’s electricity that is exported to Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland and Lesotho. Coal contributes 92% towards the country’s electricity supply (Eskom, 2010). Eskom’s annual report in 2009 revealed that South Africa is a net importer of water and the trend will continue in the future (Eskom, 2009). The cost to generate energy from fossil fuels will increase as power generation is still a large consumer of water, which accounts for about 2% of all water used in South Africa. In January 2008, South Africa experienced electricity shortages that resulted in blackouts and “load shedding” was implemented nationwide for the first time in history. According to Eskom, various capacity limitations were experienced that resulted in reduced demand to the grid supply and affected the entire country in all economic sectors of industry for almost an entire year. The water sector was greatly affected by these impacts. To date, the total effect of these power supply disruptions to treatment plants and pump stations has not yet been completely investigated and quantified. It is, however, fair to observe that the external and secondary costs incurred as a result of downtime, and damage to equipment and processes responsible for collection and treatment of wastewater is significant and affected the end user, the environment and the economy significantly.

Since April 2008, electricity consumers have felt the effects of price increases, which compounded to a 260% increase including the last increase of 25,8% in April 2011. Eskom, however, has indicated that it would be applying to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa for further 25% increases for each of 2013 and 2014, which are the first two years of the next Multi-Year Price Determination. If the applied increases are awarded, the compound average electricity price would increase by more than five times in the seven-year period from April 2008 to April 2014 (Moneyweb 2011). Both certainty and uncertainty indicators give rise to multiple questions posed in the wastewater industry: • Are wastewater collection and treatment facilities equipped to effectively adapt to further power disruption events in the country? • Are treatment technologies upgraded and new facilities designed with an energy efficiency perspective and realistic electricity cost centres, preferably ring fenced, to manage and contain operational and maintenance costs? • How will the treatment industry in South Africa present itself by 2050 when the global water sector focuses on self-sufficient treatment facilities? • Is the water regulator sufficiently cognisant of the trade-off between stricter effluent quality requirements and energy intensity to deliver such qualities with a shrinking technical skills sector? • Are municipal infrastructure funding agencies geared to evaluate energy requirements as a critical sustainability parameter over the asset life cycle chain when considering motivations for high-end technologies? • Is Eskom putting sufficient and practical incentives in place to reward energy generation or savings initiatives by municipalities, and are avenues explored to partake in capital renewal projects with high uptake and energy benefits? * GIBB, PO Box 3965, Cape Town, 8000, South Africa. E-mail: **WaterGroup (Pty) Ltd, South Africa The above questions are raised as part of a full length submission, which will be featuring over subsequent editions as part of a series. In the next edition is the outline and objective of the study undertaken in light of the questions raised. For more information regarding the paper, please contact

Plant and equipment


Manitou enters the waste management market Until now, the only single machine that was able to execute the full range of daily workface operations required on a small modern landfill site was a Tractor loader Backhoe.


anitou South Africa, a subsidiary of the Manitou Group in France, has recently introduced the new Waste Handler as an innovative alternative to the Tractor Loader Backhoe (TLB), especially on smaller sites that make up around 70% of the approximately 1 000 landfills in South Africa. Its introduction follows intensive product development in cooperation with Interwaste, a leading South African waste management and environmental services company. The Manitou Waste Handler is a versatile, holistic waste management system that can efficiently tow, push, load, compact and effect on-site dust control measures. Only one man is needed to operate the machine, making it an economically attractive option. It can load its own cover material from the site stockpile, can be used to collect waste materials and is ideally suited to handle the problem of illegal dumping. During recent site trials, the Manitou Waste Handler exceeded minimum requirements as it processed and compacted over 50 tph of waste, averaged over a

60 – RÊSource February 2013

nine-hour shift. Compaction densities of 450 kg/m3 without cover and 550 kg with cover material were achieved. This represents an impressive 3:1 compaction ratio (loose general waste has an average density of 150 kg/m3. The Waste Handler is based on a standard Manitou Telescopic, adapted with protective guards and Belly plates to suit harsh landfill site conditions. It also features solid tyres, which remove the threat of punctures that standard TLBs are particularly prone to. The Manitou Waste Handler is supported nationwide by an expert technical team that can offer operational training on the machine as well as guidance on the implementation of its landfill applications. General waste management training is also offered. As well as the Waste Handler, the Manitou Group also supplies the waste management industry with the Gehl Skid Steer Loader, which when fitted with the TurboSaw attachment can be used to clear, remove and process large green waste materials for clearing and composting.

The company Manitou South Africa distributes and supports a wide range of material handling equipment to the construction, agricultural, mining, defence and environmental sectors. High performance levels and safety standards, as well as lower operating costs enable Manitou to deliver improved operational profitability. The company operates an advanced nationwide aftermarket and support service offering 95% parts availability 24 hours a day, throughout the year, on all Manitou equipment. The company offers specially tailored service and finance packages structured to meet individual business requirements, whether operating a single machine or a large fleet. Warranties and maintenance contracts are also among a comprehensive range of personalised services available with the purchase of every Manitou machine. ABOVE AND BELOW A Manitou waste handler

Plant and equipment

Choose the right shoe width When it comes to choosing the right undercarriage system to match your working application, two key factors to consider are shoe width and flotation.


n fact, the goal is to choose the narrowest shoe possible to match the ground conditions, which in the Southern African region tend to be predominately hard rock environments. As Barloworld Equipment group product specialist Deon Delport explains, proper flotation helps to reduce wear by keeping the tracks from becoming submerged in material. However, using wider shoes when they are not suited for the application can lead to any one of the following scenarios: • Increased bushing and sprocket wear – Turning resistance, loads and weight increase with wider shoes, especially in rough underfoot conditions. This added stress causes faster wear rates for bushings and sprockets. • Increased link, track roller, idler tread and flange wear – Using shoes that are too wide increases the interference between these surfaces, causing them to wear faster. • Loosening of pins, bushings and shoe hardware – Leverage forces increase with wider shoes. In high impact or especially rough terrain, greater leverage forces may Every application affects undercarriage wear differently and requires proper track adjustment

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lead to premature loosening of bolted and pressed-fit components. • Reduction of track joint life – Bending forces are exaggerated when using wide shoes in high impact applications, causing pressed track joints to ‘open up’. This may lead to loss of lubricant, internal wear and replacement or reconditioning of track joints sooner than expected. • Shoe breakage – Severe turning resistance in extreme conditions and bending forces may cause wide shoes to break. “Caterpillar supplies a range of shoe widths to provide optimal application matches. Narrow shoes work best in firm footings, while wider, centre-punched shoes are optimal for wet sand and heavy clay where a high incidence of packing occurs,” Delport expands. Centre-punched shoes allow soft materials to extrude through the track sections so that they don’t stick to and pack between mating components, preventing undercarriage parts from engaging correctly.

A Cat track-type tractor elevated sprocket undercarriage system

Packing is inevitable in many applications, so finding the right balance is important. Roller guards, for example, are designed primarily for use in high impact underfoot conditions and should be used sparingly in softer ground since they may trap debris and increase the effects of packing. “As a general rule in every application, always keep the undercarriage clean of mud and debris so that rollers can turn properly, maintain the correct track tension and ensure that operators are fully trained to achieve the best machine utilisation,” adds Delport.

Tel: +27 11 842 5600 / Fax: +27 11 842 5610 e-mail: /

Industry news

Ease up on food waste No matter what our creed, April entails public holidays, time away, entertaining and often feasting. With this traditional break soon to be upon us, the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA) urges all South Africans to reduce excessive food consumption, to compost organic waste wherever possible and also to be especially conscious of purchasing over-packaged products.


he holiday period is habitually a time of largesse for many South Africans and we are attracted to brightly packaged products that often contain disappointingly small consumables inside their cheerful and wasteful casings. Along with the packaging, we tend to overstock on groceries that may end up not being used and ultimately discarded, adding to the ever growing piles of organic waste we send to landfill every year. Vice-president of the IWMSA, Dr Susan Oelofse, says: “Not only is it an unnecessar y expense to buy more food items than we need and cannot possibly consume, it is simply unconscionable in today’s difficult economic times. In terms of refuse, food – or organic waste – is a huge landfill challenge since it represents the major contributing factor to the production of harmful methane gases. Altogether, a staggering 40% of the waste that ends up in our landfills annually is organic, a clue that tells us that as consumers we are wasteful creatures indeed. We can minimise this type of waste by planning before we shop, careful storage so that leftover food does not become tainted and inedible, and composting wherever possible.

Oelofse continues: “However, food waste is not the preserve only of the end consumer, there is the issue of organic waste being produced during the agricultural process, as well as in harvesting, handling, storage, processing and distribution. These factors are critical and very good reasons for us to support our local food producers. There is substantially less

overall wastage if the point at which the food originates to the point of its final distribution is reduced. “One must also bear in mind that the production of food requires the use of all sorts of the earth’s resources. A horrifying statistic is that we waste around at least one third of our total global food production annually. Had that wasted food not been produced in the first place, perhaps more trees could be grown, which would in turn go a long way to offsetting harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Mismanagement of our planet, it seems, is what we do best and yet if we all try to make even a minuscule difference, the cumulative effects could make a tremendous and positive difference.” The IWMSA focuses on providing education and training for its members, as well as other interested parties, whether private individuals or government entities. It is a non-profit organisation comprising a body of dedicated professionals who give freely and voluntarily of their time and expertise in order to effectively educate, promote and further the science and practice of waste management. For more information, visit:



Health Care Waste Forum



Pilot Crushtec


Southern Africa


Amandus Kahl Hamburg




Bell Equipment


Jan Palm Consulting Engineers


Jones & Wagener


Rose Foundation


Boitumelong Investment Holdings




44 & 45 2





Rose Foundation NORA - SA




Langkloof Bricks


SLR Consulting


Envitech Solutions


Mills & Otten


Gast International SA


MTM Bodies


Talbot & Talbot


Golder Associates Howden

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8&9 48

Oilkol Otto Waste Systems

17, 23 & 24 4

Watertec Africa/ Pumps Vales & Pipes Africa 2013


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Resource Feb 2013  

Resource Feb 2013 edition