DEA’s pending decision to reveal Shongweni landfill’s future

The Shongweni Landfill site. PHOTO: Lloyd Mackenzie.

UPPER Highway Air NPC is awaiting a pending decision from the Department of Environmental Affairs with regards to the s56 notice issued in early February, about the possible closure of the Shongweni Landfill site which is believed to be the cause of the noxious odour in the Hillcrest and surrounding areas.

Lauren Johnson, one of the directors of the UHA NPC said: ‘We have not been given a time frame of when this decision will be made, but we do hope that the decision is made soon and that it is a decision to suspend or revoke the license.”

The Upper Highway Air NPC, its attorneys and some of its experts met with EnviroServ, their local attorney, and their experts in order to be briefed on the progress made to date with the technical and toxicological assessments, EnviroServ’s proposed course of action and projected time frames associated therein, as well as to discuss the access UHA NPC requested to the Shongweni site and information in order to facilitate the UHA’s own expert assessments and possible future engagement with EnviroServ’s experts.

Johnson said the purpose of the meeting was to ensure the cause of the problems be fully identified and addressed on an expedited basis and in a transparent way.


WATCH: Upper Highway residents join “Toxic Trek” 


EnviroServ had summarised their proposed Interim Odour and Landfill Gas Management Plan for the Shongweni Landfill Site dated 27 January 2017. The proposed progressive capping of the active cell, Valley 2, and the installation of an active gas extraction and destruction system to deal with the fugitive gasses, requires DEA approval.

“EnviroServ have advised us that their commitment is to a six-month timeframe to fully implement the plan and to mitigate the odour issue from their site calculated from 1 March 2017.

“Similarly, it is EnviroServ’s belief that continued operation of the site while these remedial steps are being taken is necessary. The UHA NPC has made representations to the DEA as to why the operations at the site should be suspended while the further remedial steps are taken to address the problem. This aspect for now is in the hands of the DEA and the UHA NPC will act in this regard on the advice of its own experts when such decision is made by the DEA. We have been provided with an explanation from EnviroServ as to why it considers continued operation necessary while remedial measures are underway and will update you on this aspect once we have taken expert advice on this explanation,” said Johnson.

Mark Gordon, deputy director-general of chemicals and waste management at the national Department of Environmental Affairs, had not responded to question emailed to him by the time of going to press.


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Deshni Ramkissoon-Pillay

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