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Townsville undertakes Australia first geomembrane landfill rehabilitation

In a first for an Australian council, Townsville City Council is using a bituminous geomembrane to cap a landfill site for rehabilitation.

The $4 million project involves constructing the final cap on the remaining portion of council’s Hervey Range landfill.

According to a council statement, the bituminous geomembrane is less prone to leaks and is more resilient than other products.

Water and Waste Committee chairperson Russ Cook said Townsville’s team is working to build the final capping of the landfilled waste, which had been temporarily capped with earth and mulch.

“This temporary capping is required to allow the landfill to settle prior to final capping. However, in the longer term, a permanent capping system is required,” he said.

The final capping contains layers of earth and a synthetic membrane called bituminous geomembrane.

“This membrane will stop rainwater from entering the landfill and it will capture the methane produced by the waste, directing it towards a flare to burn it in order to reduce council’s carbon emissions,” Cook said.

Division one representative Councillor Margie Ryder said once capping is finished, council will continue to monitor and control any emissions, as well as doing landscape maintenance.

“The waste mound will look like a natural hill when it is finished. Council is committed to creating a cleaner and greener city and that includes rehabilitating landfills when they reach the end of their life,” she said.

“The site opened about 1972, so after almost 50 years we’re excited to be able to take this landfill into the next stage.”

The capping project began in May 2020 and it is expected to be completed this month.

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