THE last cell at Derryclure Landfill could be full as early as September, marking the end of commercial waste at the dump.
At last Thursday’s meeting of Tullamore Town Council, Senior Executive Engineer with Offaly County Council David Hogan told members that under the Waste Management Strategy the aim was always to move away from landfill and to be only at 17% by 2013.
He said the current cell would be full by September/October, but the state of the art civic amenity would remain fully operational on the site.
He also apologised for a lapse in communication with councillors regarding the issue.
Cllr Tony McCormack asked where would waste collectors bring the rubbish now.
Meanwhile Cllr Declan Harvey said the biggest concern for local people was the small collectors around the town, and for the good of the town it was vital they remained operational.
Cllr Sean O’Brien said what people were worried about was cost, as if the rubbish needs to be transported further, this cost will be passed onto them.
Cllr Brendan Killeavy asked would the recycling centre be under the control of Offaly County Council or the private operator and if this was so, would the council have any control over gate charges. He said he was fearful of illegal dumping increasing.
Cllr Molly Buckley, in agreement with Cllr Harvey, said there was a huge concern about the bag collections which benefit the elderly.
She also said that the landfill had been a source of income to the council and asked were there plans in place to cover this loss.
Cllr Tommy McKeigue said it was disappointing to see the local authority fully out of waste capacity. He said they were the first council to make the decision to get out of collecting waste.
“It’s sad to see the council cutting their stick. I think there will be job losses.”
Mr Hogan said the civic amenity was owned by the county council but is leased to a private contractor for five years. However he said the contractor operates under the remit of Offaly County Council, and therefore it sets the gate fees.
Mr Hogan said while there are three waste collectors in operation in Tullamore he would encourage more competition in the marketplace, to keep the costs down.
He said landfills were limited in their current format and waste plants which turn waste into energy are the future.
Mr Hogan said landfills would not be able to compete with the new waste energy plants at Duleek and Poolbeg.
In terms of job losses Mr Hogan said staff are taking part in training for re deployment and there would not be any job losses. He said obviously the council have some contractors which they will not need when the landfill closes, but it terms of their own staff numbers, they would remain the same.
Cllr McKeigue asked where would biowaste from sewerage be stored, to which Mr Hogan replied that it hadn’t been stored at Derryclure for the past five years.
Finally Cllr Brendan Killeavy asked about the flaring off of gases once the cell is capped and asked how long would it continue.
Mr Hogan said the council was responsible for the site for the next 20 years and an aftercare plan was in place.