Cover Story

Tarpomatic covers all angles

The City of Canterbury Bankstown estimates it will save ratepayers millions of dollars in daily cover costs thanks to the newly installed Tarpomatic system.

In a forward thinking move, the City of Canterbury Bankstown placed itself and its ratepayers in a prime position to save large sums of money well into the future.

As one of the most populous councils in Australia with more than 365,000 people living in 110 square kilometres, the City of Canterbury Bankstown is set to swell by another 150,000 people over the next 20 years. The council is electing to adopt sustainable development and strong infrastructure support to not only improve the city, but also maintain its growth in an environmentally and economically sound way.

One of the vital pieces of infrastructure feeding into this enterprise is the Kelso Waste Management Facility – the sole landfill in the Canterbury Bankstown area, and one of the few remaining landfills in the Greater Sydney Basin.

Khal Asfour, Mayor of the City of Canterbury Bankstown says ensuring an efficient and cost-effective landfill operation was important to the council.

As in most states, the Kelso Waste Management Facility is not immune to the waste levy paid by councils, and ultimately the ratepayers.

Khal acknowledges that the levy has helped the council encourage greater recycling and resource recovery of materials received and to strive for more efficiencies at the site.

Mayor Khal Asfour.

Relying on virgin excavated natural material (VENM) for daily cover at the landfill, Khal says the council wanted to not only reduce their dependence on the use of clean soil for their operations, but also reduce the significant cost of the cover material, which too was subject to the waste levy.

“We were required to spread 150 millimetres of VENM over the landfill each day. In 2017, more than 15,000 tonnes of VENM was brought into the site. About 50 percent of the 15,000 tonnes was being used as daily cover,” Khal explains.

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

Khal says with imported materials attracting a waste levy of $130 per tonne, council incurred significant operational costs, and as a result began investigating the use of alternate daily covers to reduce this cost, as well as save airspace.

He says the site operates Monday to Friday and receives about 550 tonnes of waste every week.

The council called for submissions for the supply of a tarp cover system via a request for tender process, eventually selecting Tarpomatic Australia’s tender through the evaluation process. The City of Canterbury Bankstown gained approval from the New South Wales Environment Protection Authority (NSW EPA) for the use of the tarp cover system as an alternative daily cover and will provide quarterly reports over a 12-month period on the cover’s performance.

Two of the key factors in the council’s purchase decision was the proven long life of the Tarpomatic system, to ensure the equipment would last for at least ten years, in line with the license extension recently granted, along with Tarpomatic’s ongoing customer care and on-call support and training.

“We considered a range of alternate daily cover systems before determining that a tarp cover system would best suit our needs. For us, the main advantage of the tarp cover system was the easy deployment and retrieval, which would create more time for our staff to carry out other site operations,” Khal says.

He says that while the City of Canterbury Bankstown will continue to import material for certain operational requirements, it expects to reduce this by around 8000 tonnes a year.

“The 8000-tonne reduction alone will save ratepayers more than $1 million per annum. The money saved from importing less material will go towards the costs of the final closure of the site,” Khal says.

Steve Brooks, Managing Director of Tarpomatic Australia, says a cheaper alternative will often reflect an inferior product and customer service.

“Our focus is on delivering a quality product that has been tried, tested and trusted along with exceptional backup and customer support to ensure ongoing client satisfaction,” Steve says.

Khal says the council considered the Tarpomatic because of its durability and reliability alongside established product support. He adds that the council recognised that using Tarpomatic will greatly increase the amount of airspace available for landfill at the site.

According to Khal, there was little interruption in setting up the Tarpomatic system. “The Tarpomatic system was delivered in a shipping container and commissioned in a little over a day,” Khal says.


Reducing the amount of soil in any landfill creates a better bond of waste and reduces barriers, which helps leachate percolate through each lift, stopping it from purging, while also improving gas capture efficiency.

Tarpomatic’s tarpaulins also minimise stormwater runoff into waste, helping reduce leachate generation and treatment.

The waterproof tarpaulins sit directly on the waste, which restrict airflow, in turn reducing odour emissions, dust and the risk of fire. The system also has an optional odour control system. “So far, the Kelso Waste Management Facility has not had issues with odour,” Khal says.

With the tarps being rolled out much quicker than dirt can be applied, the Tarpomatic ADC helps to minimise windblown litter, scavenging animals and birds, vermin and shed surface water, improving the appearance of the landfill.

With a number of nature reserves in close proximity to the landfill, scavenger birds, such as ibises and other natives of the Georges River area, have visited the site and created issues. After installing a Tarpomatic, the council found a dramatic reduction in the number of scavenging birds in the area.


Tarpomatic’s automatic tarping machine uses a hydraulic drive motor and engaging system to unwind and rewind the tarpaulin with variable speed control. Each spool can cover 700 square metres and spools may be connected and disconnected to cover a wide variety of active face areas.

“The detachable spool system was a highlight, because it allows for increased tarp deployment which, under certain conditions, will benefit site operations. The new system saves time that was previously spent carting and spreading soil cover, giving staff more time to conduct their other duties,” says Khal.

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.

Each 234-square-metre tarpaulin can be deployed by one operator in less than five minutes, with even faster retrieval.

Tarpomatic also 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.

Each tarpaulin is manufactured from 340 grams per square metre woven polyethylene fabric, treated with an antibacterial coating and weighted with chains to withstand winds of up to 100 kilometres an hour.

The tarps are estimated to last for at least three to five years, with the machines being durable and reliable enough to last more than a decade.

“The use of the Tarpomatic also has the potential to increase the life of the facility, which subject to environmental protection authority approval, could potentially be extended beyond the current closure date of 2026,” Khal says.

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