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Councillors visit Westbury's waste treatment plant

January 28, 2013 8:23 AM
By Trevor Carbin

Wiltshire Councillors have paid a visit to the new plant on the Northacre Trading Estate. Construction is more or less complete and the building is now due to be fitted out ready for opening in October.

A contract was signed in April 2010 for the £20million Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) plant.The sod-cutting ceremony was held in July 2011, with building starting in August. The plant will take 60,000 tons of household waste and convert it into 20,000 tons of Solid Recyclable Fuel (SRF), which will then be shipped to Germany or Holland to be used.

The council has been working closely with Hills Waste, who already take 50,000 tons of waste from Wiltshire to be incinerated in Slough. The contract will be for 25 years, with break points at 5 year intervals in case a closer market for the fuel develops.

(Picture - Interserve's impression of the building)

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The MBT plant at Brook Lane was originally planned to provide fuel from waste to go into the Lafarge cement kilns. Following closure of the cement works the project has been redesigned to produce a slightly lower grade fuel suitable for a waste to energy process.

As it gets delivered to the MBT plant the rubbish will be tipped into a reception pit before being transferred by crane into a fast rotary drum. Any oversize materials such as plastic and card will be separated out and may be added back into the process at SRF production stage or be sent for recycling.

The remaining waste passes into a stock pit before being distributed by crane into windrows in a large biotreatment hall.

The waste will stay in the hall for 10 to 14 days. Air will be drawn down through the waste and blown upwards in a controlled manner.

The temperature of the air and the rate of air flow will be managed to maximise drying.

The treated material will then be shredded and refined using a combination of rotary screens, air separation and magnetic and eddy current separation equipment to produce three streams of material:

  • Ferrous metals for recycling;
  • Solid Recyclable Fuel and fines (containing undersize organic material);
  • Inert material such as glass and stones.

The Westbury building has been constructed by Interserve Project Services Ltd and the equipment will be provided by Entsorga Italia. Hills will operate and maintain the plant and take unusable components of the rubbish to landfill.

To keep the contract going it is necessary for the people of West and North Wiltshire to produce enough waste to keep the machines fed - if we were to reduce, re-use or recycle too much then the council would be in trouble.

Lugging our waste, even in a reduced state, across land and sea is also bad from an environmental point of view.

However the council will avoid paying landfill tax and landfill fines so there should be a net benefit to the taxpayer.

For updates on construction and more on the process see www.northacrerrc.co.uk