Albury City Council teams with the best

NSW’s Albury City Council continues on its trajectory to being a leader in waste processing and minimisation thanks to several major investments in infrastructure, including the recent installation of a Tarpomatic Alternate Daily Cover System.

The Albury Waste Management Centre (AWMC) – managed by the Albury City Council – is the region’s major waste disposal facility servicing Albury, Wodonga, Towong Shire, Greater Hume, Federation and Indigo Shire councils.

With increasingly environmentally conscious ratepayers demanding improved and greener returns on their dollar, and a landfill with a life expectancy of approximately 18 years, Albury City Council has worked vigorously to position itself at the forefront of progressive and long-lasting waste management practices.

As part of this, Albury and the five surrounding councils formed a consortium in 2010 setting an ambitious goal to improve operations at the AWMC facility and halve waste going to landfill by 2020.

Initiatives such as ‘Halve Waste’, a new three-bin system, Albury Recycling Centre and major improvements at the AWMC are contributing to a significant reduction in the amount of waste buried at the landfill. The facility has been recognised nationally as having the lowest contamination rates for the Food and Garden Organics (FOGO) kerbside collection service at one per cent.

Rohan Smith, Supervisor Waste Management Albury Waste Management Centre says that the facility is proving to be a best practice facility.

“Council has made some major investments in infrastructure and development of the waste handling at the site,” Rohan explains.

“We wanted to further enhance this by investing in an alternate daily cover system.

“This allows the operation to move away from using clean fill or other material for daily cover, as this type of material takes up considerable volume in the cell area, which can’t always be successfully reclaimed.”

In Australia, most non-waste alternate daily covers (ADC) usually come in the form of geosynthetic materials (tarpaulin), spray on foam or rigid covers.

The council’s final purchase decision was determined by the efficiency, long-term costs and quality of the materials and systems, the benefits that each system offered and feedback from industry personnel.

“Through the tendering process and the information gathered by Council, the Tarpomatic system was chosen as the best option for our site,” Rohan says.

“Tarpomatic’s reputation in Australia and internationally has always been underscored by our guarantee to deliver a quality product that has been tried, tested and trusted,” says Steve Brooks, Managing Director of Tarpomatic Australia.

“We pride ourselves on a quality product with exceptional backup and customer support to ensure ongoing client satisfaction.”

According to Rohan, the new Tarpomatic system was commissioned at the site with little interruption to operations and was followed by high-level technical support. “All staff have been inducted onsite by Tarpomatic personnel and have had ample opportunity to practice the deployment and retrieval of the tarps.”

Tarpomatic’s automatic tarping machine uses a hydraulic drive motor and engaging system to unwind and rewind the tarpaulin with a variable speed control. Each spool can cover up to 870 square metres, with spools able to be connected and disconnected to cover a wide variety of active face areas.

“With a tarp-type daily cover system, the tarp is laid out at the end of each day, then removed each morning, which means that no additional material is placed into the cell taking up precious air space,” says Rohan.

The Tarpomatic system is controlled from the cabin, with the equipment operator able to manage the engine, height of spool, an optional deodorising system and forward or reverse rolling with a remote control. The equipment is also designed to be able to vary height and tilt for even tracking when winding or unwinding a tarp over uneven terrain.

Tarpomatic estimates that each 292 square metre chain tarpaulin, can be deployed by one operator in less than five minutes, with an even faster retrieval.

It uses a self-contained unit that is attached to the blade of a dozer or compactor to unroll and retrieve heavy duty tarpaulin. By remaining in the cabin during this process, the operator can avoid hazardous areas.

“The benefits to our ratepayers are shown across a number of areas, including the reduced airspace, but the small amount of time to deploy and recover the tarps is a valuable saving compared to the time and cost in man hours and plant hours taken to spread and recover clean fill cover,” says Rohan.

Another benefit the council saw as a plus was the minimisation of stormwater runoff into waste, helping in the reduction of leachate generation and treatment.

Tarpomatic’s waterproof tarpaulins sit directly on the waste, which restricts airflow, in turn reducing odour emissions, dust and the risk of fire.

Rohan explains that the benefits of odour control for the site were also an important consideration.

“In late 2016, AlburyCity commenced an Air Quality Impact Assessment at the AWMC and the surrounding precinct. With all this in mind, council investigated a number of different options. Sites were visited to witness the cover use in action and to seek feedback on the various options utilised. The Tarpomatic Cover System was the perfect candidate for an additional odour mitigation measure implemented at the AWMC.”

Each tarpaulin is manufactured from a dual-layer 340 grams per square metre woven polyethylene fabric, laminated and treated with an antibacterial, UV resistant and fire-retardant coating and weighted with chains to withstand winds of up to 100 kilometres an hour.

“The tarps are visibly much stronger and are able to withstand tears,” Rohan says.

“We looked at other tarps on the market, finding that they frayed easily, with the tears getting bigger. Tarpomatic’s “tuff tarps” did not fray. So, if a tear did happen, it was easier to repair.”

Tarpomatic’s webbing and stitching has also been specifically designed to maximise the strength of the tarpaulins to alleviate any potential damage daily rolling and unrolling may cause.

The first machine in Australia was installed in 2000 and is still operating today, with tarps estimated to last for at least three to five years.