Integrated engineering units ensure success of solid waste-management projects By Richard Emery

JG Afrika JG Afrika





There is a growing move towards the use of solid waste to divert waste from landfills. These complex projects also rely on the skills of an integrated engineering unit. Richard Emery, an executive associate and specialist in integrated waste management, shares his insights.

Having developed extensive capabilities in integrated waste management over the years, JG Afrika continues to play a leading role in many of these projects.

More recently, we worked alongside RWA, a UK-based specialist waste consultancy, to complete a pilot project that will help six selected local municipalities divert organic waste from their landfill sites. By adopting our proposed strategies, they will also make a noticeable impact on emission reduction.

We were acting on behalf of the South African national Department of Environmental Affairs, or DEA, the coordinating body implementing the programme at a national level, and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit.

Our teams started at the waste source to ensure that we had a thorough understanding of the characteristics and consistencies of the various waste streams.

This is always an extensive process, but critical to the success of any solid waste management project.

JG Afrika’s extensive engineering and design capabilities meet the onerous requirements of the developers and teams involved in the implementation cycles of these projects.

In South Africa, most of these projects are being driven by the private sector under public-private partnerships, such as the build, own, operate and transfer model.

The structure of the contracts reflects the intricacies of the projects. Many of them are now turnkey varieties, including engineer, procure, construct and manage, or engineer, procure and manage.

Our comprehensive offering of services to these professional teams spans civil and structural engineering and design through to transport and traffic expertise. These are essential to ensure the cost-effective, optimal and safe transport of waste streams to where they will be beneficiated.

Our in-house geotechnical engineers, geohydrologists, wastewater-treatment engineers also provide skills and expertise to help deliver projects that are based upon the increasingly popular anaerobic digester technology.

This knowledge and capability has proved invaluable in the development of these projects in water-stressed regions of the country.

These plants have to be planned close to a consistent alternative supply of water, while harnessing potential available flows that can be used to generate electricity.

In some instances, they will even require their own wastewater treatment facilities that allow water to be reused by the facility.

Our capabilities have also been deployed in the planning and development of smaller related initiatives by property developers.

JG Afrika was involved in such a project at the Bayside Mall in Cape Town, Western Cape.

Together with a rooftop solar project, waste generated from the facility has helped the owner reduce reliance on conventional grid electricity.

Other technologies that are also growing in prominence include composting – both open windrow and in-vessel varieties – as well as the recycling of white paper, metals, including aluminium, and glass.

Set to complement JG Afrika’s impressive portfolio of waste management initiatives is our imminent involvement in two biomass projects under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme that involve woody residues generated from the forestry and sawmilling industries.

These bode well for the future of biomass projects and integrated waste management strategies in the country, and JG Afrika has proved that there is a ready source of technical capability on hand to facilitate their implementation.