The Shongweni Landfill Site was established by waste disposal company, Waste-tron, in 1992, under a Class IIa licence (which allowed the disposal of domestic and industrial waste) following an Environmental Impact Assessment. In 1996, EnviroServ acquired Waste-tron and became the Shongweni Landfill operators.
EnviroServ Waste Management operates the Shongweni Landfill Site under a licence issued by the Department of Environmental Affairs which sets out the kinds of waste that may be disposed at the site and how the hazards associated with the waste disposal are managed and monitored. The licence specifies what monitoring is required to ensure any potential environmental impacts are minimized.
EnviroServ's first permit to operate at Shongweni was issued by the then-Department of Water and Forestry Affairs in August 1997, in terms of Section 20 of the Environmental Conservation Act (73 of 1989). The permit was renewed by the Department of Water Affairs in September 2005. In 2007 this was renewed again by the Department of Environmental Affairs. The current H:h Waste Management Licence was issued in 2014. As part of the 2014 licensing process, a site inspection was carried out by the DEA where all licensing requirements were found to be in place and the site was deemed to be well managed.
Shongweni Landfill is licensed to treat and dispose of various types of waste, including waste with a hazard rating of 3 and 4 under previous legislation, and waste classified as Type 1 to 4 waste under current legislation. The site is classified as an H:h site, and its licence issued by the Department of Environmental Affairs specifies the types of waste it can process.
Among the waste streams it accepts are industrial chemicals, condemned foodstuffs, contaminated soils and general household waste.
EnviroServ has a Waste Management Licence to operate an on-site Effluent Treatment Plant at Shongweni. This has been granted to the company to treat leachate at the facility. There are legally prescribed rules governing the quantity and quality of leachate than can be disposed.
In terms of its licence, EnviroServ is required to conduct regular internal audits, pay for external audits by an independent company, and allow access to the site at any time for the Department to conduct any audit or inspection as it chooses. EnviroServ conducts surveillance in the following areas:
- Ground water monitoring;
- Surface water monitoring;
- Occupational Health monitoring;
- Air Quality monitoring (although this is not a licence requirement);
- Worker exposure monitoring; and
- Landfill gas monitoring.
The Shongweni site is one of seven landfill sites run by the company across Southern Africa. It is run according to international best-practice standards with the aim of minimising risk to the environment through responsible management practices. In keeping with its philosophy of minimising impact, the company offers a range of alternate waste management solutions, with disposal to landfill being one of many options. Minimum impact to the environment is the company’s primary goal, with reduction, reuse, recycling, and recovery being some of the tools to achieve this.
The landfill facilities are designed to exacting specifications by civil engineers, and its operations are monitored by expert engineers, scientists and other industry specialists who are tasked with ongoing geo-technical assessments of soil and ground structures, geo-hydrological assessments of ground water and scientific testing of the nature of waste that is disposed of.
The structure of the landfill cells conforms to industry regulation specifications, and all cells are built with a double composite liners including a flexible plastic High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) membrane with a natural Compacted Clay Liner (CCL).
Before waste is disposed of by EnviroServ, it is classified by the company laboratory in Johannesburg. This was the first waste laboratory in South Africa to receive SANAS accreditation in February 2012. It is accredited according to the ISO/IEC 17025 standard for waste analysis and is able to offer expert advice on the testing and handling of hazardous waste materials. The laboratory offers a full range of environmental testing services to assess solid, liquid and sludge waste. The work of the laboratory guides decisions on waste processing options – whether re-use, recycling or recovery are suitable or possible in any particular instance. It is also able to guide decisions on the safe transportation, handling, storage, treatment and disposal of waste.
The company is certified and compliant with international standards such as ISO 9001, 14001, OHSAS 18001 as well as the Chemical & Allied Industries Association Responsible Care and Safety & Quality Assessment System (SQAS) programmes.
EnviroServ also takes responsibility for rehabilitation and post-closure monitoring of all its end-of-life sites after they have been decommissioned.