A study on sustainable waste disposal in South Africa using mechanical biological waste treatment.
Griffith, Mark Richard.
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The landfilling of Municipal Solid Waste poses a threat to the environment in the form of landfill emissions. These emissions are a result of the biochemical breakdown of the waste in the anaerobic landfill environment. A solution to this problem has been found in the form of the mechanical-biological treatment of waste. This technology involves mechanical and biological processing of the waste before it is placed in the landfill. The pretreatment accelerates the degradation of the waste resulting in the landfilling of a more biologically stable product, resulting in a reduction of the emission potential of the landfill. This research aims at investigating the applicability and efficiency of a passively ventilated MBT windrow system under a sub-tropical climate. The research was conducted in two stages: the first stage focused on the implementation and analysis of the Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) process with aerobic windrows, employing the Dome Aeration Technology (OAT) (Mollekopf et al. 2002). Three OAT windrows were constructed at the Bisasar Road Landfill in Durban in order to study the efficiency of the process after different composting timeframes (8 and 20 weeks). The study proved that the use of the OAT technology is a viable option. The second stage was the analysis of this treated waste in an anaerobic environment, in order to simulate landfill conditions and, thus gain insight into the effect of MBP on landfill emissions. Six Iysimeters and 5 columns as well as numerous eluate tests were conducted in order to study the "post-Iandfilled" behaviour of the waste and the effect that waste treatment, composting time and screening have on liquid and gaseous emissions. A basic cost estimate using the Clean Development Mechanism for financial assistance was conducted. The results of this research were then utilised to make recommendations on sustainable waste disposal options. The findings of the research were that although the MBT did not reduce emission levels sufficiently to allow for a 40 year landfill aftercare period, the benefit over the landfilling of untreated waste is significant.