EnviroServ implements DEA’s 11-point action plan

The leachate tanks that have been storing waste water at the Shongweni Landfill site.

AFTER months of being in the spotlight for the odour allegedly emanating from the leachate storage tank at the Shongweni landfill, waste management company EnviroServ said its staff had been working tirelessly to implement the Department of Environmental Affairs’ (DEA) 11-point action plan.

EnviroServ Group CEO, Dean Thompson, said, “We remain on track to meet our 11-point action plan as agreed with the DEA. For four weeks, the Shongweni site stopped accepting all Class A (Type 1) waste while a review of all waste streams was conducted to determine which could have contributed to the malodour reported in recent months. We have now completed the review and made operational changes to the way we handle certain waste types to further reduce any contribution to odours being generated.”

Permanent covers for all Shongweni leachate tanks are being installed. “So far, the installation of one cover has been completed and a further two tanks have been emptied and will be covered within the next week. Once the tanks have all been emptied, the stormwater dams will follow suit. EnviroServ has submitted a leachate management plan to the DEA. A review of site operations including air quality management and control is in progress. A scientific report by a specialist appointed by the community previously revealed that EnviroServ was not the sole source of the malodour as there are a number of other industries operating in the same area,” added Thompson.

Despite having existing air quality monitoring in place, EnviroServ will soon install real-time air quality monitors, which will allow the company to determine air quality immediately as well as help identify other odour sources.

EnviroServ has also temporarily suspended tankering of effluent to Southern Wastewater Treatment Works. “We informed eThekwini Water and Sanitation on 21 September 2016 after noting inconsistencies in the samples,” said Thompson.

Other progress includes the circulation of the Terms of Reference (ToR) for the Stakeholder Engagement Plan, to assist with the roll-out of engagement with community members and other stakeholders. Once the TOR is agreed upon they will ask potential service providers to submit proposals which will again be reviewed by all stakeholders. EnviroServ has begun engagement with local leadership, including chiefs and councillors.

Meanwhile, Lauren Johnson, a member of the Working Group and one of the many residents affected by this odour said, “The malodour is still present and complaints continue to be logged with the relevant authorities. The Monitoring Committee meeting held last week was poorly facilitated resulting in many community members not knowing of the meeting. Minutes of the previous meeting were also rejected and not signed by residents, as these were not accurate and had many vital points missing.”

Responding to the claims about the meeting, EnviroServ said all monitoring committee members were informed of the meeting by invitation prior to the meeting. Corrections were made to the minutes of the previous meeting and these will be circulated, once updated, for approval at the next meeting.

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