DCLM deals with leachate discharge

2018-02-14 06:01
PHOTO: DCLMThe DCLM KwaDukuza landfill site in New Guelderland.

PHOTO: DCLMThe DCLM KwaDukuza landfill site in New Guelderland.

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AFTER months of appealing for intervention the New Guelderland community will finally be able to rest knowing that Dolphin Coast Landfill Management (DCLM) will take steps to address alleged unauthorised discharge of leachate (the liquid that drains or ‘leaches’ from a landfill).

The newly-appointed chief executive officer of DCLM James Ndebele, has approached the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) for guidance on the management and disclosure of alleged unauthorised discharge of leachate at the New Guelderland based landfill site, which came to light during the recent transition to new management.

This was announced at a press briefing on Friday.

According to Ndebele in early December 2017 he had received allegations that site employees had previously been instructed to discharge leachate from the landfill, particularly during times of high rainfall.

However, according to DCLM’s waste management licence, leachate from the landfill may only be used on site if treated to the prescribed standard and only for dust suppression and irrigation within the permitted area.

“As soon as we became aware of these allegations, we immediately provided full disclosure to the licensing authority, the national Department of Environmental Affairs in Pretoria and have since provided our full co-operation in their investigations.

“These allegations are of great concern to us as we pride ourselves as being a responsible company that not only takes legal compliance very seriously, but also strives towards continual improvement and best practice.”

Ndebele explained that DCLM’s waste licence requires that they commission experts to monitor the surface water and groundwater quality twice a year.

These results are then reported to the DEA and made public through the monitoring committee, which meets bi-annually and is made up of community representatives, national, provincial and local government officials as well as the Dolphin Coast Conservancy and Coastwatch.

Annually, DCLM also makes use of an independent external auditor to ensure compliance with its waste management licence.

DCLM also revealed that in a “completely separate incident” caused by heavy rain that fell on December 5 and 6, 2017, storm water breached the safety berm and flowed from the landfill perimetre into the surrounding environment.

DCLM said they repaired the berm and reported the incident to the DEA in accordance with its permit conditions.

According to Ndebele, DCLM is in the process of complying with the steps prescribed by Section 30 of the National Environmental Management Act to assess the extent and impact of this breach and undertake remedial measures.

Ndebele expressed DCLM’s commitment to transparency and communicating openly with its stakeholders.

“The KwaDukuza Municipality was informed of these matters at a recent meeting called by DCLM and the DEA and will be kept up to date as they progress.

A special meeting was held with the landfill’s monitoring committee and a public community meeting was scheduled for Saturday, February 3.”

He assured the public that DCLM is co-operating fully with the DEA and will act immediately to effect the remedial measures recommended by external environmental experts once approved by the department.

These recommendations include, but are not limited to, the manual removal of contaminated soil and its disposal in the active landfill cell specifically engineered to accept hazardous waste.

Director of Waste Management Licensing for the DEA Bonginkosi Dlamini confirmed that his department was investigating the allegations of unauthorised discharge of landfill leachate into the environment and that DCLM had voluntarily approached the DEA with information from the outset.

He asked that the public and the media be patient and allow the investigation to run its course.

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