Viridor invests £4.5 million in leachate extraction

Viridor has announced a £4.5-million investment in a new leachate extraction system at its Dimmer landfill site in Somerset.

With leachate – a polluting liquid produced as landfill waste breaks down – posing a significant risk if not adequately controlled and treated, Viridor’s new project will combine multiple treatment technologies within a single leachate management system to ensure that the site meets the Environment Agency’s discharge compliance requirements.

Viridor's Dimmer Leachate Treatment Plant
Viridor's Dimmer Leachate Treatment Plant

The move to on-site treatment will also avoid approximately 2,000 articulated tanker movements to the Dimmer landfill site every year.

Team members Mike Denman, Dimmer Leachate Treatment Plant Project Manager, Robin Shirley, Leachate Control and Treatment Manager, and Rob Hawkins, Landfill Operation Manager, explained: “The new Dimmer Leachate Treatment Plant is the most advanced leachate treatment facility in the UK. Cutting edge technologies include a biological, chemical and physical treatment process incorporating nanofiltration and activated carbon filtration.”

Nanofiltration treatment sees liquid pass through pores with a width similar to that of a single strand of DNA. Material removed by the plant is fed through activated carbon filters, before the spent carbon is then returned to the manufacturer where it is reprocessed or reused.

£1 million of the £4.5 million investment has funded improvements in Viridor’s leachate extraction system, allowing efficient removal of leachate for subsequent treatment. The investment has also funded the design and build of a three-hectare willow bed, which can be irrigated with clean, treated leachate over the summer months. An intelligent monitoring system, which links the treatment plant with the site’s willow beds and the River Cary, monitors the soil’s moisture content and indicates whether the willow beds require irrigation.

Somerset Waste Partnership Managing Director Mickey Green said: “By both cutting vehicle movements and improving environmental management, Viridor – as Somerset Waste Partnership’s residual waste treatment contractor – is investing in a sustainable future and ensuring innovative and responsible long-term care of a landfill site that has served Somerset’s needs for decades.”

Dimmer landfill site is due to close to active waste deliveries at the start of 2020, as Viridor prepares to open its Avonmouth Resource Recovery Centre, which will convert 320,000 tonnes of non-recyclable residual waste each year into energy.

Viridor published its 2019 Sustainability Report in October, outlining plans for a series of investments, prioritising plastics, biodiversity and sustainable finance. As part of its commitment to improving plastics recycling, the company has invested £65 million in a new plastics recycling facility, located alongside the energy-from-waste (EfW) plant in Avonmouth, near Bristol.

You can find more information on the Viridor website.

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