New chapter in waste management and landfill

With the aim of protecting surface and underground water and avoiding land contamination, this project involved recultivating and closing 89 old and obsolete landfills in Hungary’s South-Transdanubia region.

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The 426 000 inhabitants living in the nearby area are among the beneficiaries, with improved health through better protected air, water, natural flora and fauna. The total landfill area recultivated was 809 000 m2.

Protecting nature and people

The ‘Mecsek-Dráva Waste Management Project – Landfill recultivation’ has reduced the amount of land used for waste disposal in the region, at the same time reducing the environmental risk of landfills. The sites targeted were technically unsuitable, closed or abandoned municipal solid waste landfills in South Transdanubia. Some 313 municipalities are affected, representing approximately 165 610 households. In terms of local employment, 131 temporary jobs were created during the construction stage of the project; a further 12 created as permanent positions.

Cultivating a new approach to waste management

Of the 64 landfills closed down, 58 saw a one-stage closure process, the other 6 a two-stage closure where there was a temporary then final closure layer. The temporary closure layer was necessary for landfills where bio-waste stabilisation was still taking place. The final closing layer came after biological stabilisation, with gas resulting from the stabilisation collected through gas collection systems. Ditches for collecting surface water were also dug out where necessary.

For the remaining 25 landfills, which were in direct contact with the first groundwater shed, or for which there was a risk of flooding or inland water entering the landfill, the waste had to be excavated, classified and, according to its characteristics, transported to other environmentally safe landfills. Before transportation, the waste was sorted, with metal sold, hazardous waste (if any) handled/disposed of appropriately, and compostable and construction and demolition waste kept at the site. The residual waste was transported to one of the three insulated landfills (Kökény, Sellye, Marcali) in the region.

Impacts monitored down the line

During construction works, all measures were carried out in accordance with the requirements of Europe’s Habitats Directive as well as Hungarian legislation on protecting Natura 2000 sites, habitats and species. A monitoring system was also set up under the project. A total of 94 monitoring wells were constructed to monitor the ground water, with samples now taken on an annual basis. At one landfill, three landfill gas ventilation pipes were installed. To measure the landfill gas, 30 landfill gas monitoring wells were also built, with samples now taken twice yearly.

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