Lismore city council is leading the state with the installation of a new $2 million landfill cell.
The landfill is being lined with a geosynthetic clay lining.
The council’s waste operations coordinator Kevin Trustum said Lismore was a pilot site for the new method, which looked set to become widely used as a best-practice model in the future.
Mr Trustum said the landfill lining was fabric impregnated with bentonite clay, which had several benefits compared to the thick layer of compacted clay that is traditionally used.
‘Firstly, it means we don’t need to mine virgin clay for the lining and as our floodplain clay is unsuitable anyway, it also means we don’t have to truck in clay from outside the region,’ he said.
‘The geosynthetic lining provides around 30cm more space across the face of the landfill, which is around the size of two football fields, so we gain quite a bit of extra landfill room.’
Once the geosynthetic liner is laid, another plastic liner will be placed on top, sealing the waste to prevent toxins leaching into the environment – a far cry from the bad old days when rubbish was thrown in a pit.
The council will collect the leachate from the landfill for treatment at the East Lismore Sewage Treatment Plant.
Mr Trustum said the old landfill cell would reach capacity sometime in 2016 and would be capped using a phytocap system, which Lismore City Council also pioneered in NSW.
Instead of compacted clay and other materials, phytocapping involves capping landfill with native vegetation and koala habitat.
The new landfill cell will give the council capacity for the next 10 years based on the current amount of waste going to landfill. It is expected to be complete by the end of August.