Magħtab Environmental Complex
Magħtab old dump
Upon taking responsibility for waste management in the Maltese Islands, one of Wasteserv’s main priorities was to decommission the operational landfills at Magħtab in Malta and Qortin in Gozo. Instead, the company was to establish more sustainable methods of waste treatment and disposal.
The average weight of mixed waste received annually at the Magħtab old dump was approximately 1.6 million tonnes. The major fraction of this waste, 80% by weight, was inert waste generated from rock excavations and those fractions resulting from Construction and Demolition activities.
One of the first steps was to stop this inert waste from being landfilled. Instead it has since been diverted to old quarries where it is used to restore the landscape by filling the void space which has been excavated through quarrying. Because this waste is inert, it therefore does not release anything harmful into the surrounding soil and underlying water table.
In place of the old dumpsites, new engineered landfills were introduced representing a new era of waste disposal in Malta. The engineered landfills were specially lined to prevent harmful substances from leaching into the soil and water table while systems for gas extraction were also introduced. A temporary engineered facility in the area of ‘Ta’ Żwejra’ was used between 2004 and 2006, followed by the ‘Għallis’ engineered landfill. The latter was initially designed to last roughly seven years, though its lifetime has been extended mainly thanks to the introduction of waste treatment plants and other initiatives such as more intense education campaigns and the organic waste pilot project.
Mechanical & Biological Treatment Plant
When SAWTP was set up, it was designed to process and treat 30% of the total MSW generated on the Maltese Islands. Rest of the MSW was still being landfilled at the Ghallis Engineered Landfill.
In order to reach targets imposed on Malta by the European Union it was required that our country sets up a facility to treat the remaining MSW.
With a €50m investment partly financed by the EU through the Cohesion Funds, Malta North Mechanical and Biological treatment Plant was set up. This facility was inaugurated in February 2016.
The setting up of this plant will enable the country to address waste management issues through 3 different sections:
1. Mechanical Treatment Plant (MTP)
This facility will segregate mixed household waste, referred to as Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), into five fractions: organic waste; ferrous metals; non-ferrous metals; refuse derived fuel (RDF); and rejects. The organic waste will undergo further treatment, while metals will be sent for recycling and RDF will be stored. Only the rejects will be landfilled. The facility is expected to receive and treat 66,000 tonnes per annum of residual household wastes.
2. Bulky waste facility
The Mechanical Treatment Plant will also cater for the mechanical processing of bulky waste from skips, including both household as well as commercial waste. The process involves shredding the waste for volume reduction and the separation of ferrous metals. The remaining material is disposed of by landfill. This facility is expected to receive 47,000 tonnes per annum of bulky waste.
3. Anaerobic Digestion Plant (AD Plant) / Biogas Plant
This facility will cater for the treatment of the organic fraction extracted in the first process, together with animal manure. The facility is expected to process 39,000 tonnes per annum of feed stock derived from solid and liquid manure. This waste will be treated in order to recover energy from biogas which is produced naturally from the treatment process.
The Gas Plant situated within the Maghtab Complex is used for the treatment of harmful gases both from the engineered landfills and also from the closed Maghtab dumpsite. Gases from the closed dumpsite are treated in a Regenerative Thermal Oxidiser, while gases from the engineered landfills are treated either via high temperature flares or Combined Heat & Power technology. In all cases, emissions are monitored to ensure that they remain within acceptable and safe levels.
Rehabilitation of the Closed Dumpsite
With the closure of the uncontrolled Maghtab dumpsite in 2004, the land could start to be rehabilitated. The ‘Aerial Emissions Project’ was one of the first steps and included the installation of a Regenerative Thermal Oxidiser to treat harmful gases and a Reverse Osmosis Plant to treat contaminated water. Through this project, 99% of gases from the disused Maghtab dumpsite are being extracted and treated prior to safe emission into the atmosphere, while clean second class water is also being generated and used for irrigation and dust suppression purposes on site.
Following the Aerial Emissions Project, our rehabilitation efforts then moved to structural works on the dumpsite as well as a general greening of the area. With an area of 280,000 square metres and an investment value of Euro 15,600,000 ca. (excluding VAT), this project represents a major investment by WasteServ.
The project was split into two parts - Phase I, comprising a pilot project of a representative area of the site, and Phase II which comprises the remainder of the site. The rehabilitation process includes the following works:
Formation and capping of slopes Formation of benches (passages)
Construction of almost 4km of rubble walls
Construction of over 230 planting cells
Planting of trees and finishing of slopes with vegetation, including indigenous Maltese plants
Construction of a large water reservoir and water culvert
Formation of silt ponds and reed beds for the collection and polishing of rain water
The project was co-financed through EU funds (Cohesion Fund 2007-2013)
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