DESCRIPTION OF THE REFUSE TRANSFER STATION
Refuse Transfer Station
General description of the Refuse Transfer Station
The transfer station will be used solely for the purpose of accepting waste from the
municipal and private domestic collection vehicles within the generation area and
compacting it into containers for transportation to the PetroSA landfill site at Mossel Bay
by road. The option of using the rail via the Knysna RTS can be considered in the future.
The Municipal collection vehicles enter the transfer station, discharge their loads onto
the conveyor or directly into the compactor hopper and waste is immediately fed to
the compactor and rammed into containers. On filling the container is sealed and
moved either to the storage area or directly onto a Roll On – Roll Off (RO-RO) type road
vehicle. As soon as the container has been removed from the compactor, the next
container is moved into position and clamped to the compactor. The full containers will
be removed immediately and transported by road to the PetroSA landfill site.
Containers will be emptied on arrival at PetroSA landfill and returned immediately.
The option of using road transport to the Knysna RTS where the containers will be loaded
directly onto a rail truck along with the Knysna waste containers can be considered in
Only domestic, light industrial and commercial waste will be accepted at the RTS.
Garden waste and builders’ rubble will be managed at separate drop off facilities still
to be identified. The respective EIA processes for the management of building rubble
and green waste including the chipping of green waste is due to start within the next
few months. Provision for a composting facility adjacent to the RTS has been allowed
for. No industrial hazardous or liquid wastes will be accepted at the RTS.
This section addresses the following aspects of the design:
Stormwater and leachate management
The following forms the basic infrastructural requirements for the transfer station.
Access control and weighbridge
Receiving and compactor building
Materials Recovery Building
Moving frames for loading and offloading containers on the compactor
Leachate Collection and Treatment System
The RTS layout and operational areas is discussed below. The infrastructure is divided
into four sections.
(a) Receiving Building
The receiving building is where the discharging of waste takes place and is located
within a superstructure enclosed on three sides and 485m2 in area. The floor of the
receiving building is concrete and concrete parapet walls 2,0m high protect the sides
of the building. Access to the discharge area is through one side of the building, which
is permanently open. The discharge area comprises a 1,5 m wide conveyor which feeds
directly into the compactor. Vehicles discharge directly onto the conveyor. The amount
of waste to be handled daily (90-135 tons) indicates that all waste can be put straight
onto the conveyor and provision of a tipping floor will be unnecessary, however the
area of the RTS will be sufficient for the tipping of 2-3 loads which can then be loaded
using a front-end loader. In addition waste can be directly loaded into the compactor
by discharging into the hopper over the discharge box.
The superstructure will be a steel-cladded steel frame structure with a 2,0m high
perimeter concrete wall.
The following will be provided in the Receiving Building
An emergency eyewash
Firefighting equipment comprising hose-reels and extinguishers in accordance
with the Standard Building Regulations.
The conveyor system feeds waste to a single compactor located underneath the
receiving building where it is immediately compacted into 28m3 RO-RO type containers.
Compaction will be controlled, by monitoring pressure to prevent containers being
overloaded, to comply with road regulations.
(c) Loading Area
The loading area comprises a concrete apron adjacent to the Receiving building and
is 3m lower than the receiving bay floor. A set of moving frames is used for the on- and
offloading of containers onto the compactors. The moving frames will have a capacity
for 6 containers, however allowance has been made for the extension of the moving
frames to accommodate additional containers. An area on the south side of the
loading area has been provided for the storage of additional containers. RO-RO trucks
will remove full containers and replace empty containers onto the moving frames. The
containers are watertight steel structures with self-sealing doors.
In addition provision has been made for the parking of open containers for the disposal
of large inert waste objects that cannot be compacted. These containers will be
regularly emptied at the landfill.
(d) Materials Recovery Building
The Municipality has taken cognisance of the National Waste Management Strategy
regarding waste minimisation and has taken the decision to provide for material
recovery at the RTS. An enclosed building with a footprint of 486m2 will be constructed
adjoining the Receiving building. Provision has been made for access into the building
from the receiving area.
It is the intention of the Municipality to have the operation of the recycling facility
outsourced along with the operation of the RTS and the transporting of waste to
PetroSA. The method of operating the MRF will be proposed by operator and approved
by the Municipality. The method proposed must follow generally accepted standards.
The building is enclosed on three sides similar to the receiving building and will be
provided with a concrete floor. The operator will remain responsible for providing the
necessary infrastructure inside the building for the recovery of materials.
Residual material from the MRF will be deposited directly into the compactor. A drop-
off facility will be provided for on site for the disposal by the public of bulky waste such
as white goods, which cannot be compacted. The operator will manage this and it is
likely that open containers will be provided.
Recyclables such as glass, plastic, cans and paper are collected and sorted into
specific categories. They are then processed and remanufactured. Depending on the
quality of the non-recyclable waste that is left after the materials recovery process, the
waste is either composted or disposed of at a RTS. The facility’s main aim is to reduce
the volume of solid waste that is disposed of in municipal landfill through recycling.
To the knowledge of the team only mixed MRF exist in the country and are not
supported for integrated waste management facilities.
It is thus recommended that waste separation be promoted at source and that
recovery of sorted material takes place at the facility. This is however not operational at
present and a mixed MRF facility would be discussed.
The following facilities will be provided for the operation of the plant:
Change-rooms and ablution facilities for staff
The mechanical equipment comprises the following;
Electrically operated impact conveyor system
An electrically operated high capacity static waste compactor
Set of moving frames for moving containers on and off the compactor
The system capacity for receiving waste is based on a peak-load of 2 vehicles / 20 mins.
or an equivalent 30 tons/hr. Assuming a 5 hour day (collection vehicles generally
undertake 2 rounds per day and arrive from 10h00 onwards for the first round and then
again from 13h00 onwards for the second round.) The system capacity will be in the
order of 150 tons/day or some 15% in excess of the estimated daily waste generation in
The provision of a material recovery facility at the station will have the potential to
significantly reduce the quantity of waste to be transported.
The system capacity is based on loading containers to legal limits for road transport.
28m3 RO-RO type compaction containers with self-sealing access doors will be
provided. 16 containers will initially be utilised providing a 50% over-capacity.
The site has room for expansion of receiving, compaction and loading areas and for
the storage of containers. The transfer station therefore has sufficient capacity to
handle waste in the long term.
All rainwater from roofs and roadways will be collected in a piped stormwater system
and discharged to open land.
The enclosed building will prevent the receiving, compaction areas and waste from
coming into direct contact with rainwater.
Runoff from the loading area will be collected and discharged to the stormwater
system. Containers stored on the loading area are sealed and therefore stormwater will
not come into contact with waste.
The site is in a relatively high lying area and slopes moderately westward. All surface
water and roadway water is collected and discharged away from the facility and it is
extremely unlikely that the plant will be affected by flooding. In the future the system will
be connected to the stormwater system of the industrial development.
General waste is collected and transported to the transfer station by the municipal
collection vehicles. The collection vehicles discharge the waste onto a conveyor or
directly into a hopper on an enclosed receiving apron. The waste is then compacted
into sealed containers and then loaded onto either trucks or train and transported to
The operation of offloading and compaction takes in the order of 5-10 minutes, which
implies that the waste is exposed to the atmosphere for only a very short period of time
before being sealed into a container. This mitigates against possible problems of odours
The general infrastructure and requirements of a RTS include:
A building to enclose the area for disposing of and compaction of waste
All weather road access
Water supply and fire prevention systems
Controlled access and security
Stormwater and leachate management and safe disposal systems
Construction of the Refuse Transfer Station
The RTS will take approximately 4 months to construct from the time of authorisation. The
major construction components are the installation of the mechanical equipment such
as compactors and conveyors and the construction of an enclosure over the receiving
An Environmental Management Plan (EMP) for construction will be a requirement of the
Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism and the Department of Environmental
Affairs and Development Planning.
Operation and Management of the Refuse Transfer Station
The RTS will be operated and managed by either the local authority or a private
company. The following operation and management processes form an integral part of
mitigation of potential impacts resulting from the project.
An Operation and Management Plan will be implemented as part of an
Environmental Management System for the facility. An operational and
management plan is also a requirement for the Section 20(1) permit application.
Management issues requiring particular attention include:
o Compaction of waste
o Road access
o Waste acceptance procedure
o Access control
o Fencing and gates
o Resources and infrastructure
o Adequate plant and equipment
o Staff and responsible person
o Waste reclamation
o Leachate management
o Stormwater management
o Windblown litter
o Odour, air pollution and dust
o Health risks
o Noise nuisance
o Co-disposal/ composting
o Public after hours drop-off facility
o Problematic waste
o Record Keeping
o Public complaints
o Groundwater and surface water
o Visual aspects
o Socio-economic aspects
o Financial aspects
o Public participation : Residents Monitoring Committee
Waste shall not remain at the RTS for more than 24 hours. Any waste that is to be
kept at the site overnight shall have been previously containerised and sealed.
The average number of trips by municipal waste trucks and private vehicles to the
facility will be in the order of 20 to 25 per day.
The RTS will operate between 07h00 and 16h30 weekdays and between 07h00 and
13h00 on Saturdays.
There will be an approximate total of between 6 containers leaving the site daily for
disposal at the Knysna waste transfer station (not a viable alternative at present) or
alternatively for direct disposal at PetroSA. Two waste containers will be transported
per trip implying 3-4 trips daily.
In the event that the RTS and in particular the loading and compaction mechanisms
malfunction and the station cannot function for an extended period of time, all waste
will have to be conveyed directly to PetroSA or if functional the Knysna Waste Transfer
Station. A comprehensive contingency plan will therefore be required as part of the
permit application documentation.