Legal Eagle: State significant development applications for the waste Industry explained

Legal Eagle: State significant development applications for the waste Industry explained

A proposed development is classified as State Significant Development (SSD) if it is listed in Schedule 1 of the State Environmental Planning Policy (State and Regional Development) 2011 (SRD SEPP), or if it is declared to be SSD by order of the Minister for Planning. Examples of SSD under the SRD SEPP include:

  • development for the purpose of resource recovery or recycling facilities that handle more than 100,000 tonnes per year of waste;
  • development for the purpose of remediation of land that is category 1 remediation work on significantly contaminated land if it is required to be carried out under relevant legislation; and
  • development that has a capital investment value of more than $30 million for the purposes of manufacture of paper or cardboard, paper recycling, etc.

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Examining the role of bioenergy in modern power systems

Examining the role of bioenergy in modern power systems

This month, a UN-backed report noted that record levels of renewable energy capacity were added globally in 2016 at an investment level that was 23% lower than 2015, i.e. it is getting cheaper to install and roll out clean energy technology (more here).

Chief scientist Alan Finkel is also conducting a review that looks at energy security although the preliminary report discusses variable renewable energy with zero coverage of bioenergy. Read more

CEFC support for new climate bonds signals growth in renewables investment

CEFC support for new climate bonds signals growth in renewables investment

FlexiGroup has issued a climate bond with an underlying asset base of residential rooftop solar, with the CEFC making a cornerstone commitment of $20 million to the $50 million tranche, which was certified by the global Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI).

More recently, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia has successfully issued its first climate bond – a $650 million transaction linked to a broad portfolio of clean energy assets, with the CEFC being a cornerstone investor in the bond with a $100 million commitment. Read more

Leading the sector into the digital era

Leading the sector into the digital era

Inside Waste caught up with the AMCS team – CEO Jimmy Martin, sales manager Australia and New Zealand Gerard Kissane, and former ASP CEO Terry Daley who will stay on for 18 months to consult on marketing and sales – to find out what the company has in store for Australia.

Who is AMCS?

Headquartered in Limerick, Ireland, AMCS offers an end-to-end suite of software and vehicle technology to the waste and resource recovery sector. Its 350-man team works across the globe, with offices in the UK, central Europe, the US, Australia, and New Zealand. Read more

South East Water joins newly formed CRC to boost farm productivity

South East Water joins newly formed CRC to boost farm productivity

The Co-Operative Research Centre for High Performing Soils (CRC-HPS) will bring together 42 organisations from Australia and around the world spanning industry, government, research, not-for-profit, and business sectors to help bridge the gap between soil science and farm management.

As the only representative from the water sector, SEW aims to advance soil health in Australian agriculture, and help develop more sustainable food production systems for the country’s farmers. Read more

Sustainable Insights: Growing Australia's waste and resource recovery industry…it's happening

Sustainable Insights: Growing Australia’s waste and resource recovery industry…it’s happening

Commercially it makes sense and as the sector grows nationally it will drive changes in community behaviour and understanding, boost economic development and jobs growth.

Unless we tackle waste reduction from every angle we won’t make the most of our potential.

The industry’s spreading its wings

A 2012 Australian Bureau of Statistics study found 98 per cent of Australian households took part in some form of recycling or reuse of household items. Read more

WMAA landfill conference: exploring the use of trommel fines as landfill cover

WMAA landfill conference: exploring the use of trommel fines as landfill cover

Speaking at the Waste Management Association of Australia’s 2017 Australian Landfill and Transfer Station conference at the end of March, Mockinya Consulting director Paul Lightbody told delegates the project started as a means to find a use for trommel fines produced at a refuse-derived fuel facility in Adelaide.

The plant, which was established in 2006, processed some 150,000 tonnes of construction and demolition and commercial and industrial waste a year to produce an engineered fuel.

The feedstock it receives is screened, goes through a size reduction process, and is then separated to produce process engineered fuel, aggregates, fines, as well as a small amount of residual waste that is landfilled.

“Two streams come out of this process – one’s a coarser stream and the other’s a finer stream,” Lightbody said.

“Parts of the equation that framed this project was to look at what these materials were, how they could be used, which characteristics might be important, and whether these materials and residuals could become a resource.”

At the moment, there is simply no local market for the oversized fines (12-40mm) and heavy fines (12mm minus).

Typically, these fines, which Lightbody said are “studied extensively”, are composed of inert mineralogical materials including plaster/gyprock (85.6%), organic inclusions (12.13%), glass (1.54%), hard plastic (0.17%), light plastic (0.02%), other miscellaneous materials (0.42%) and an almost negligible percentage of metal and foam.

Key considerations

Because of the fines’ composition, there were characteristics that Lightbody needed to evaluate.

“The issues for the use of these materials on landfill as cover were potential flammability particularly because there were visible inclusions of plastics. There was also potential for it to generate odour and further contribute to methane emissions in the landfill because of the organic fraction. It also needed to be suitable from a chemical composition perspective and we already were pretty satisfied about that in the quality of the material,” Lightbody explained.

Additionally, under the SA EPA licence requirements, landfill cover must be a “soil” and not a waste material although in SA, there is an exception for waste fill. Or, Lightbody said, the fines could be approved as an alternative cover under approved specifications. Thus, discussions with the EPA began around the parameters required for the fines to be used as an alternative cover.

Testing the fines

Lightbody noted that in Australia, there were few common methods have been used to test the flammability, odour and methane emissions, and physical performance of trommel fines as an alternative landfill cover, though these tests certainly exist.

He turned to the ASTM D4982 “flammability potential screening – waste” to test the material’s flammability and a static method based on the ASTM D5975 to test respiration activity in order to determine the odour and methane emissions.

“For the physical performance of this material, there hadn’t been a lot of characterisation of particle size distribution (PSD) so we looked at that to see how closely the methods were replicated for the fuel,” Lightbody said.

Mockinya performed initial tests on a stockpile of material in 2013 over 10 consecutive days, followed by a five-day test in 2015.

The results

“The ASTM method for flammability tested whether the material would be ignited easily and sustain a flame. This testing was undertaken by an independent third party laboratory,” Lightbody said.

The result was that no, the material did not ignite easily nor did it sustain a flame. All samples were later classified as not potentially flammable.

However, there was a small amount of flammable material present in the fines, specifically:

  • plastic and paper, which would ignite and burn when contacted directly with the flame. It would then smoulder for up to 15 seconds; and
  • larger pieces of wood, paper and plastic that would ignite and burn when contacted directly with the flame and remain burning for up to 15 seconds.

Extinguishment followed after, Lightbody said.

Turning to the respiration activity, Lightbody relied on a modified version of the ASTM method developed by the laboratory that used proprietary and independent techniques around the containment of the gas within the chamber. Table 1 details the differences in the respiration activity tests; the middle column is the test that was undertaken.

WMAA landfill conference: exploring the use of trommel fines as landfill cover
Table 1: Testing respiration activity. (Source: Mockinya Consulting)

The test revealed that the rate of oxygen consumption had decreased over time with the highest four-day rate at less than 1mg of oxygen per gram.

“We were looking for variability in the factors that might affect the results but the results were consistent. We started to look at shorter timeframes because we were seeing a plateau in the respiration rates and we did, over time, develop confidence that we were seeing good and consistent data and we weren’t getting significant outliers in the data,” Lightbody said.

“One of the benchmarks we developed as we went through this program was based on Irish EPA guidance around the use of residual material for landfill cover application, which established the criteria of between four and 10mg O2/g and we were seeing results that were well inside what was thought to be a reasonable target. Thus, the conclusion was the organic matter was biologically stable.”

Finally, when it came to particle size distribution, Lightbody told delegates that this was “relatively consistent across the material” over the two testing periods. There was quite a good gradient of material and a reasonable amount of fines content – coarser content that provided the material some strength that would make it suitable to be used as a cover material.

“Other discussion points were the presence of glass and the perception that there is a fire risk due to the glass in the material,” Lightbody added.

“This is a myth in Australia that glass on the side of the road causes bush fires and our own fire authorities do teach their firefighters that it is a myth.

“The volatile solids are also within the range of carbonaceous soils, so that wasn’t a concern. We looked at all the impacts, even the stability of the material and it benchmarked reasonably well against the current soils that are used for cover.

“In summary, it forms a dense cover, it’s well graded, and it physically limits direct access for vermin – it’s not a food source for vermin. It is also not generating odour.”

The waste inclusions were also not significant to function as a cover though they are within approved specification limits.

In terms performance, Lightbody noted that the material has been used as an interim cover for three years now and in that time, it has remained stable despite some very heavy rainfalls.

“It has been accepted now by the EPA,” Lightbody said.

Redback Technologies supplying energy management services in the UAE

Redback Technologies supplying energy management services in the UAE

Duserve FM is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dubai South, an emerging city with an expected population of one million that will be home to what is planned to be the largest international airport in the world.

With a focus on setting a global example as a sustainable city, predominantly powered by renewable energy, the new partnership will see Redback install its robust, scalable hardware and software solutions in 20 commercial and 20 residential properties. Read more

WMAA landfill conference: dealing with a leachate breakout

WMAA landfill conference: dealing with a leachate breakout

Speaking at the Waste Management Association of Australia’s 2017 Landfill and Transfer Stations conference last week, City of Darwin manager technical services Nadine Nilon told delegates the events that unfolded on January 17, 2014 have been etched on her memory forever.

On that fateful day, the council’s Shoal Bay Waste Management Facility noticed that leachate was leaking out of landfill cell four, marking the start of a six to 12-month process to clean-up, fix and review the situation. Read more