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Walley's Quarry landfill - Frequently asked questions

What permits are issued for the site and how is the activity monitored?

Walleys Quarry Landfill site – The Environment Agency issued an Environmental Permit for Walleys Quarry’s Landfill site on the 9 June 2005, to Lafarge Aggregates Limited.  

The permit was transferred to Red Industries RM Limited on the 3 November 2016.

The permit allows the operation of a Non-Hazardous waste landfill with a separate cell for Stable Non-Reactive Hazardous Waste (gypsum and asbestos).  

The operator has never used a separate cell and therefore (SNRHW) is not accepted. The total quantity of waste allowed to be accepted at the facility is 250,000 tonnes per year. Non Hazardous waste includes municipal and industrial wastes. 

The permit also allows the operation of:

-    a leachate treatment plant for management of leachate arising from the landfill

-    landfill gas engine and flare for treatment and utilisation of landfill gas from the landfill

Monitoring is required for landfill gas, leachate, surface water and groundwater at a number of points at the facility at different frequencies (weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual)

 

Walley’s Quarry Soil Treatment facility – the Environment Agency issued an Environment Permit in 2012 for the treatment of waste to produce soil, soil substitutes and aggregates. The current operator does not undertake this operation.

Permit Conditions

No landfill will ever be completely odour free. However, the level and type of odour arising from such operations should not be causing offence. 

The permit conditions require an Environment Agency officer to make a judgement about whether an odour is offensive and they can only take enforcement action where it is deemed offensive and the operator is not using all appropriate measures. 

Various officers carry out periodic odour checks. 

The operator is informed about all complaints (the EA don’t release personal data so  complainants are not identified) and in accordance with the Odour Management Plan investigate and advise of any changes to their operations.

Where the EA substantiate an odour at a level likely to cause offence they score this according to the Compliance Classification Scheme (CCS) guidance. 

Repeated substantiated odour breaches may result in escalation particularly when no improvement plan is proposed by the operator. In this situation the EA is obliged to consider an enforcement response in accordance with the published Enforcement and Sanctions guidance which you can find on their website. 

What measures are in place to control the odour? 

Measures to minimise odour include:

o    keeping the tipping area as small as possible 
o    covering waste as soon as possible 
o    installing temporary capping over the waste to prevent the release of odours
o    ensure their landfill gas management is operating effectively & installed as soon as possible

How do the Environment Agency assess odour? 

There are various techniques for assessing odour, commonly used across permitted and regulated sites in England and Wales.

A scale of 0 to 6 is used as follows: 

0 – No odour
1 – Very faint odour (need to inhale into the wind to smell anything)
2 – Faint odour (you can detect an odour when you inhale normally)
3 – Distinct odour (there is clearly an odour in the air as you leave your car or enter the area)
4 – Strong odour (a bearable odour but strong, you could stay in the area for some time)
5 – Very strong odour (unpleasantly strong, you will want to leave the area quickly)
6 – Extremely strong odour (likely to cause nausea and a strong need to remove yourself from the odour immediately)

If odours are detected at levels likely to cause annoyance by an EA officer the site must take measures to prevent, or where that is not practicable, minimise this.  

The EA will determine what actions the operator must take that are both fair and reasonable. If they are taking appropriate measures they will view them as compliant with the odour condition in their permit. However, the operator must continue to investigate and action other ways to minimise odour. 

What monitoring have you undertaken and what are you doing now? 

The Environment Agency carried out an ambient air monitoring study between 6 July 2017 and 14 February 2018. The aim of the study was to assess the air quality at the nearest residential properties to the site.  

The Environment Agency decided to carry out a further monitoring study at Silverdale. A mobile monitoring facility was installed on 18 January 2019 near the northern boundary of Walley’s landfill site, on the grounds of Garners Garden Centre. The study will involve continuous monitoring of particulate matter, hydrogen sulphide, methane, oxides of nitrogen and volatile organic compounds over a three to four month period. 

What is the health impact on local residents? 

If residents have health concerns they should contact their local GP, who can seek advice from Public Health England

Traffic

Traffic movements are considered by Staffordshire County Council as part of the planning permissions for the sites. They do not form part of the Environmental Permit.

Why are the lorries parking on the roads before the site opens?

The parking of vehicles on the highways has been raised with the operator.  The landfill facility opens at 7am. The operator has advised that they have contacted the companies who deliver waste and requested they do not park outside the site before the sites is open.  If they observe vehicles parking on the roads adjacent to the site during the day they are requesting they move on.   

How is the site engineered? 

The site is engineered to ensure that the waste deposited is contained in a low permeability clay liner. The engineered systems are in place to control and monitor leachate and landfill gas produced by the degradation of waste. 

Who controls what goes in the landfill?

The Environmental Permits issued by the Environment Agency detail the waste types and quantities that are allowed to be accepted at the sites.

How is landfill gas managed at the site?

Gas is generated when plants, food and other living waste starts to decompose in a landfill.  The composition and production of landfill gas varies according to the type and age of the waste. 

The principal components are carbon dioxide and methane, other gases present at low concentrations such as hydrogen sulphide can be odorous. 

The permit requires the operator to monitor both the composition of landfill gas being produced and to monitor boreholes around the perimeter of the landfill to ensure gas is not escaping. 

Gas is collected from a series of wells and used to fuel a gas engine.  The facility has a high temperature flare which is operated if the engines are not available – for example during servicing. 

The operator has, this week installed an additional 6 gas wells.  These wells are being connected to the gas management system. 

What is leachate and how is it managed?

As rain water drains through the waste in the landfill, it dissolves a range of substances which then collect at the base of the landfill as a polluted liquid.  This is known as leachate and it can contain high levels of contaminants, including ammonia. 

The operator has a leachate treatment plant at the facility.  Following treatment leachate is removed from site by tanker.

What measures are in place to control the seagulls?

The landfill operator currently covers the waste during and at the end of each day to reduce the 'food' available for birds scavenging on the landfill.  

Measure to disperse gulls also include the use of bangers and rockets and a falconer whom flies a hawk.  

What controls are in place to reduce litter and waste falling from vehicles? 

Waste hauliers have a duty of care to ensure theirs loads are secure.  If residents observe waste falling from a vehicle on the public highway please report this to the Environment Agency.  

Details of the waste company and vehicle registration number will assist in out investigations. 

The operator has advised they undertake litter collections along the roads outside of their site.
 


Last updated 5 March 2019

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