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Dumping Liquid Waste At Landfills Soon To Be Made Illegal In South Africa


Conservationists around the country are rejoicing after news broke that the dumping of liquid waste at landfill sites in South Africa will be banned from Thursday 22 August 2019.

The war against liquid waste dumping at landfill sites

It has been a long battle for environmentalists as legislation to this effect was first published in Parliament way back in 2013.

The fight started even before that, though, as they had to make enough noise for lawmakers to even table the bill in the first place.

The six-year gap between the initial gazetting of the law and the eventual banning was to allow the industry to make the necessary changes to comply, according to Department of Environmental Affairs spokesperson Albie Modise.

“Prior to that, the work and consultation on the ‘Norms and Standards’ started in 2010,” he said, according to IOL.

New ban provides protection for groundwater

In confirming the ban would come into effect on Thursday, Modise championed the law and claimed it would provide much-needed protection for the country’s groundwater reserves.

“Some of the country’s major landfills taking industrial waste is finding it difficult to manage leachate,” he said.

 Albie Modise

Leachate is the term given to water that has passed through solid material and picked up some of its material along the way. It is potentially a huge problem because it is very difficult to treat leachate so preventing it from even happening is by far the best course of action.

“The restrictions are aimed at addressing such difficulties, especially the management of leachate,” Modise continued.

 Albie Modise

Dumping of liquid water should be a last resort

Rather importantly, the law does not just address the dumping of liquid waste at landfill sites. It requires companies to view the dumping of liquid waste as a last resort.

As a result, businesses will have to show efforts to reduce liquid waste first. Then, when reduction is no longer possible, attempts must be made to find uses for the liquid waste before dumping can even be considered.

In terms of policing transgression, Modise remains adamant that anyone found to be in violation of the new ban on dumping liquid waste in landfill sites would face the full force of the law. Reporting would start with the waste disposal facilities themselves.

“All facilities that dispose of waste are compelled through the various environmental authorisations they have, to report to us their compliance status with regard to the Norms and Standards,” he said.

“We also have a compliance monitoring unit that will undertake inspections of such facilities to assess compliance. Should the facility not comply with the requirements, enforcement action may be taken against transgressors.”

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