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Minister Annesley tours landfill that turns garbage into clean power

28/08/2012

Minister for Sport and Recreation Minister Graham Annesley recently joined NSW Local Government Minister Don Page to tour one of the nation’s largest landfills – the New Illawarra Road Landfill at SITA’s Lucas Heights Resource Recovery Park, which generates enough electricity to power over 20,000 homes.

Also on the tour with Mr Annesley was Member for Menai Melanie Gibbons and the member for Heathcote, Lee Evans.

The group toured the garden organics composting facility, closed and active landfill areas and some of the site’s 20 energy generators, which converts methane, produced by the landfill, into clean green power.

“What impressed me is the a variety of compost and mulch products for landscaping and horticultural uses produced by the composting process that is then sold to retailers,’’ Mr Annesley said.

“The site even accepts clean untreated timber for recycling into mulches and biofuels.’’

Organic material breaks down naturally to produce landfill gas, which is largely composed of methane - a potent greenhouse gas, but one which can be used in specialised generators to produce electricity.

At the New Illawarra Road Landfill pipes are laid within the landfill cells as they are filled so that landfill gas can be collected.

“While it’s not unique for landfill sites like this to generate power, the scale of this operation is unique,’’ Mr Page said. “Most sites are lucky to have five or six generators. What SITA has done is turn a liability – waste gases from the landfill - into an asset, generating clean green power for the site and pumping sufficient energy back in the NSW grid to power over 20,000 homes.’’

The sites generators are completely rebuilt every 50,000 days at a cost of $230,000 each, which means jobs for the local community, he said. The generators are modular, and can be moved to a new landfill site once the gases at New Illawarra Road site are exhausted.

The 170ha site currently takes in 530,000 tonnes of waste a year, including 50,000 tonnes of source-separated garden organics which is processed through the SITA Organics windrow composting facility.

The garden organics are composted and turned into high quality fertiliser for gardens and sporting fields.

By 2015 the site’s managers, SITA hopes to be recycling 50 per cent of its waste, when the site expands to include an advanced resource recovery facility at a cost of up to $100 million in capital expenditure.

Pictures of tour available.

Media: Bernard Bratusa: 0420 581 225

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