SUEZ’s Phil Carbins explains how the company works with its contractors to provide safe and efficient landfill operations across Australia.
Elizabeth Drive Landfill in Kemps Creek and New Illawarra Road Landfill in Lucas Heights form significant operations within the crucial NSW landfilling landscape, with both sites paired to resource recovery parks.
As one of the few putrescible landfills servicing metropolitan Sydney, Lucas Heights is licensed to accept 850,000 tonnes of solid putrescible and non-putrescible waste per year.
This includes municipal solid waste (MSW) and commercial and industrial (C&I) waste. The resource recovery park is also licensed to receive 55,000 tonnes per annum of green waste.
Elizabeth Drive Landfill in Kemps Creek receives solid non-putrescible waste, including C&I, construction and demolition (C&D) and restricted solid waste. SUEZ recognises the importance of the site and at the end of last year proposed extending the life of this landfill by about six years to 2030.
Managing the facilities each day is a comprehensive operation, from onsite waste acceptance, ground and surface water management and environmental monitoring and reporting.
One business helping SUEZ with elements of the two operations and four others across Australia is Select Civil – a civil contracting, plant hire and waste management services company. The company has over the years provided services to all six SUEZ landfill sites, including on-ground personnel and equipment.
Starting with Kemps Creek in 2009 and Lucas Heights in 2011, Select Civil’s support network stretches as far as North Bannister in WA and Hogan’s Pocket Landfill in Mackay, QLD.
Each of SUEZ’s landfill sites differ significantly in size, scale and location, while operating under different regulatory environments and communities.
Select Civil’s extensive knowledge of the landfill sector ensures it is able to apply this knowledge to suit each facility, sourcing quality equipment, maximising machine performance and reducing maintenance.
The company also works with other major companies, supporting a combined tonnage of waste landfilled at these facilities in excess of 225,000 tonnes per month.
Select Civil operates a fleet of waste handling bulldozers, compactors and articulated dump trucks in addition to various loaders, trucks, excavators and track loaders. Employing more than 50 staff at these sites, the company supports safe operations and plant maintenance in accordance with contractual arrangements.
Phil Carbins, Sydney Landfill & Organics Manager at SUEZ Australia and New Zealand, says that through a competitive tender process, Select Civil successfully won a number of contracts. Over time, it has developed a robust understanding of the company’s sites and operations and proved to be closely aligned with SUEZ’s requirements.
“Our relationship with Select Civil is a contract heading towards a partnership arrangement where both parties understand each other’s key drivers,” Phil says.
A crucial component for SUEZ is ensuring its operations align with its licensing, airspace and environmental compliance obligations.
“Our environment protection license means SUEZ must comply with the daily operations and Select Civil is completely involved in meeting those environmental obligations each day, including covering the tip face,” Phil says.
Select Civil safely operates significant equipment for SUEZ using a best practice approach with efficiency and safety front of mind, including compactors, excavators and bulldozers.
It also works in conjunction with SUEZ’s site operations team and engineers to ensure stormwater and leachate are managed appropriately.
At Lucas Heights, Select Civil provides landfill services on site, including a public drop-off and resource recovery station, transferring the bins to the tip face at the site.
Additionally, it provided mobile plant and maintenance for SUEZ’s green waste platform, including front end loaders and excavators.
At Kemps Creek’s alternative waste treatment facility, Select Civil equipped SUEZ with mobile equipment and continued maintenance of four Caterpillar 938K wheel loaders and a back-up 950G.
“Understanding the responsibility we have to meet our customer’s expectations and long-term objectives particularly around efficiency and capacity in landfill compaction is an important key performance indicator for our business,” Phil says.
He says that to ensure maximum uptime, it’s Select Civil’s responsibility to have a set number of machines available operating at its landfills at any point in time.
“We have sites with different input tonnages – some are quite small, but Select Civil has been able to allocate the right level of equipment and resources to meet the demand.”
Phil explains that in addition to its main duties, Select Civil performs a range of ancillary activities at its various sites, including picking up bins in drop-off areas, placing litter fences in the right locations and cleaning out drains.
Importantly, Phil says that relationships are strong with the Select Civil and SUEZ site management team.
“Supervisors interact not only daily with site operators, but in some instances hourly,” he says.
Phil says that on a normal day, landfill management is a predictable and smooth business. However, he says that it is not always predictable. For instance, high rainfall events can be challenging.
He says that fortunately, Select Civil and SUEZ’s other stakeholders are dedicated and able to consistently work through any hurdles.
Another key component to the partnership is the ability to work with SUEZ’s other contractors on site, which all form critical parts of onsite management, whether it be cell constructions, landfill gas capture, leachate collection systems or excavations.
“Select Civil through SUEZ must be able to coordinate with other contractors onsite and it is our job to make sure all contractors are working together for the greater good.”