Department of Environmental Affairs takes enforcement action against Enviroserv’s Shongweni Landfill Site
02 November 2016
The Department of Environmental Affairs’ Environmental Management Inspectorate, commonly known as the Green Scorpions, initiated a criminal investigation with the execution of a search and seizure warrant at the Shongweni landfill site on 12 September 2016.
The following, amongst other things, took place during the search, namely:
- Numerous documents were seized that provided information regarding the nature and types of wastes currently being disposed of at the landfill site, and others relating to the compliance status of the Shongweni operations;
- Samples of the stormwater and leachate;
This investigation, which is still underway, not only encompasses the landfill site itself, but also looks at the Southern Waste Water Treatment Works as well as other facilities in the area that may be contributing to the smell-related complaints being reported by residents in the Hillcrest area and surrounds.
Based on information at our disposal at this point in time it appears as though the operations by Enviroserv at the Shongweni landfill site are a contributor to the air related concerns in the area, albeit not the only source.
At the same time as conducting a criminal investigation, and based on the findings to date, administrative enforcement action has also been taken by the Green Scorpions. A final Compliance Notice was issued to Enviroserv on 21 October 2016. Enviroserv was instructed to, amongst other things:
- Cease with the disposal of all Type 1 waste at the Shongweni Landfill Site;
- Treat other types of waste that may still be accepted at the site;
- Remove all leachate and contaminated storm water from the site and dispose of this at a lawful and suitable disposal / treatment facility;
- Conduct an appropriate scientific study focusing on the impacts and / or possible impacts on health and wellbeing associated with the operation of the Shongweni Landfill Site;
- Submit for approval both a Landfill Gas Management Plan and Odour Management Plan; and
- Conduct a Technical Assessment of the Shongweni Landfill Site with a view of establishing the root cause of the odours generated from this site.
Although the law allows for certain objection procedures in relation to this Compliance Notice, compliance with these instructions is required, unless a decision is made to suspend any of these instructions. To date, an objection has not been lodged with the Department.
In addition to the above, the Department views compliance with the instructions contained in the Compliance Notice in a very serious light. As such, regular compliance inspections at the Shongweni landfill site will take place together with an assessment of Enviroserv’s performance in relation to the other instructions contained in the Compliance Notice.
The Department wishes to emphasise that its intention is to substantively deal with the root cause of the odour problem about which the community is complaining.
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