Wednesday, October 6, 2010

New Phuket incinerator to burn off landfill waste

The days of the landfill behind the Phuket City Incinerator at Saphan Hin may be numbered, following confirmation that a new incinerator now under construction at the site will use any extra burning capacity to reduce the huge stockpiles of trash.

Phuket City Deputy Mayor Thaworn Jeeraphat told Gazette that project contractor PJT is contracted to burn at least 300 tons of trash a day initially, as well as any excess it can from the landfill.

Currently more than 250 tons of trash are dumped at the landfill each day, as the existing incinerator can dispose of only 250 tons of the more than 500 tons of trash brought to the facility each day.

Phuket City Municipality will take steps to reclaim whatever recyclable materials can be salvaged from the landfill before the trash is incinerated, Mr Thaworn added.

“We must think carefully about how we take waste from the landfills. We cannot just take it and burn it. We have already done a test run separating recyclable trash on landfill plot number 5. We found that 30% of the trash could be recycled. The rest will be burned,” he said.

Prachoom Suriya, who heads the Phuket City Municipality Environmental Division, said the maximum capacity of the new incinerator will be 700 tons a day. The amount of solid waste from the landfill that can be incinerated on any given day will depend on the quantity of the trash delivered each day from around the island.

“For example, if 600 tons of waste is sent to the plant another 100 tons from the landfill can be incinerated,” he explained.

The boost in burn-off capacity, from 600 tons to 700 tons a day, follows PJT redrafting the plans for the new facility.

Aongart Chanachanmongkol, chief of the Phuket office of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE), told the Gazette, “It would be good for PJT to take trash from the landfill to burn off because they could produce more electricity.”

PJT will generate electricity from exhaust turbines and plug the power back into the grid. Most of the electricity will be used to power the plant itself, but any excess will be sold to the Phuket Provincial Electricity Authority.

Mr Aongart also explained the end goal of the project: “The principle is to empty the landfills, support our trash management policy and open the area for future re-use.”

The main problem threatening the success of that plan is Phuket continuing growth.

“But don’t expect too much when new incinerator first comes online. By that time, there will be much more trash to dispose of than there is now. I’m not sure whether the volume of waste to be disposed of will be less than the new incinerator’s capacity,” he cautioned.


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