Durban’s waste transfer station to save transport costs and carbon emissions

Submitted by: Amanda Botes, Tuesday, November 6, 2012

<p>An artist’s impression of the Durban waste transfer station that will be in operation by September 2013 (Image supplied by eThekwini Municipality).</p>

An artist’s impression of the Durban waste transfer station that will be in operation by September 2013 (Image supplied by eThekwini Municipality).

A new state of the art waste transfer station in Electron Road, Durban is currently under construction. The waste transfer station will compact waste at the site and thereby reduce the amount of space needed to transport the waste to landfill saving on transport costs and carbon emissions. The transfer station will be in operation by September 2013 and will process an average of 1,200 tonnes of waste per day.

Durban’s Electron Road facility is being developed in response to the centrally located Bisasar Road landfill site reaching near capacity explains Fiona Singh, education officer at Durban Cleansing and Solid Waste, a department of eThekwini Municipality.  The nearest alternative landfill site is Buffelsdraai which is located 33km further away. eThekwini Municipality estimates show that the cost of transporting waste from the Durban Central area to Buffelsdraai, located to the North of the city in Verulam, would be in the region of R875,000 per day.

Instead waste sent to the planned transfer station will be compressed before being sent onto Buffelsdraai.  The waste will be compressed to a quarter of its original size. As a result only one truck would be needed to deliver waste to the landfill site instead of four trucks for the same delivery says Singh.  Reducing total truck trips to a quarter will not only save on transport costs but reduce carbon emissions from fuel combusted to transport the waste.  

“The transfer station will have three Hussman Compaction units, a first for South Africa, … [these will] do away with the conventional moving floor / impact conveyor  system [that results in] high maintenance costs” says John Parkin, Deputy Head of Plant and Engineering at eThekwini Municipality. Parkin explains, “the waste is loaded into side slides where … [it] is pushed to the compaction chamber and compacted into containers for longhaul transfer to Buffelsdraai Landfill.” 

Singh added that there have been discussions around extracting recyclable materials from the municipal waste at the transfer station but a decision on this has not been confirmed.

The predicted construction cost of the transfer station is R130 million.

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Amanda Botes