The uMngeni Municipality needs to budget millions to formally close the Hilton landfill site, which hasn’t been used for 17 years.
This after the municipality, under its previous administration, did not comply with the conditions of the landfill site permit issued by the Department of Water and Forestry.
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The permit was valid from 2001 to 2006 and the landfill site was then closed after it expired.
One of the conditions of the permit was that the closure and final rehabilitation plans needed to be submitted to the department 180 days prior to the landfill site being closed.
This was not done.
The municipality risks getting either a non-compliance notice from the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (Edtea), criminal charges, a fine of up to R10 million or imprisonment.
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According to a presentation by Zwane Environmental Consultant regarding the landfill site, Edtea is now the competent authority.
It was therefore recommended by the economic development, planning and human settlements portfolio committee that the municipality now has to appoint an environmental assessment practitioner to undertake the waste management licence and environmental impact assessment to formally close down the landfill site.
The waste management assessment can take between two to three years before the landfill site can be officially closed.
Councillor Pam Passmore said it is shocking that the proper closure of the site has not been done since 2006.
In order to do the closure and make it official, we have to go through a process that will cost us about R14 million. What came to light was that there was a report done on this for the financial year 2021/2022 but nothing was ever done with this report. We need to move forward with this and get some assistance and co-operation from the Edtea.
Passmore added that the proper closure of the landfill site became urgent after it came up twice in the auditor general’s findings.