No need for a waste transfer station in Gozo

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The Qortin uncontrolled landfill had no system in place for the control of emissions and was therefore considered a hazard to the environment. The government closed this landfill prior to EU accession in May 2004.

The preliminary work to rehabilitate this site has now started and through EU structural funds the latest technologies will be introduced in order to minimise odours and treat any harmful components in the gas resulting from the internal combustion within the mass waste materials.

As indicated by the Solid Waste Management Strategy for the Maltese Islands, there is no need for the development of an engineered landfill on the island of Gozo and a transfer station for the receipt, processing and transfer of waste will be needed instead.

Prior to having the necessary transfer station, WasteServ utilised part of the contaminated land at Qortin and developed a temporary transfer station in the open. Following the necessary environmental studies, an outline permit has now been issued for the appropriate transfer station to be developed at the Tal-Kus site in Xewkija.

By means of a controlled transfer station, waste will be transported to Malta for treatment or disposal. The project would contain the following elements:

? An enclosed waste transfer facility for the receipt, sorting, bulking up and onward transportation of domestic waste resulting primarily from households.

? A Civic Amenity (CA) facility for the reception of separate materials and waste delivered by members of the public for recycling.

The elements described above will be supported by site infrastructure works and ancillary development in the form of access roads, weighbridge, concrete hardstandings, site drainage and services, office accommodation, stone walling and peripheral landscape works.

Care has been taken to concentrate the main aspects of the proposed development within the areas that have been previously disturbed by quarrying activities and are below the visual level of the surrounding ground.

The Waste Transfer facility will receive waste collected by 18 trucks, nine skip loaders, 13 refuse collection vehicles and five vans. Waste imported to the waste transfer facility by lorry or refuse collection vehicle will be deposited inside the waste transfer station. The waste will then be loaded by a loading shovel being sealed to be ready for transport. Air within the building will be treated before being released into the atmosphere. No biodegradable waste would be stored within the waste transfer building for longer than 72 hours. Sorting and pre-treatment of waste will be encouraged to decrease the volume of waste and the number of trips to Malta on the ferry boat.

The proposed transfer station represents a positive shift towards a more sustainable and environmentally friendly system of waste management, where recycling and recovery replace more waste put in the landfills. Such a proposal is considered to have a moderate positive overall social impact, and will increase public awareness of the need for positive waste management.

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