Two months after floods, removal of 160,000 tonnes of waste starts in Liège
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Two months after floods, removal of 160,000 tonnes of waste starts in Liège

Credit: Belga

This week, the public service for environmental quality, Spaque, started removing thousands of tonnes of waste from the Wérihet site in Wandre, where it was stored as an emergency measure following the floods in mid-July.

The operation was entrusted to the temporary company Aertssen-Bruco-Maes for a sum of €6,685,691.65 (incl. VAT), following a public contract, and should be completed by 31 October next.

The site will operate during the week, “from Monday to Friday from 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM, with the cartage using Rue Wérihet to reach the motorway network and the river loading docks or processing centres,” the company explained.

In total, 35,000 tonnes of waste will be removed and taken to the sorting centres both by lorry (30%) and by barge (70%) before being sent mainly to recovery centres, either “material” or “energy.”

No sorting operations will be carried out on the site in question.

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The company has also promised to limit the impact of the disposal of this mountain of waste on local residents: measures will be taken to prevent the spread of dust, odours, etc., as well as the increase of rodents.

Analyses of the quality of the ambient air and dust will be carried out periodically. An intervention plan has also been drawn up with the regional fire service and means of combating the risk of fire outbreaks will be permanently available on the site.

In August, local residents gathered to protest against this pile of waste after which the City of Liège promised not to increase the pile.

Once the removal is completed on 31 October, the site will be restored as the soil underneath the waste deposit will be scraped and a quality control will also be carried out.

Two other waste collection centres will also be treated during the autumn: the Engis site and the A601 motorway.

The cleaning of the Engis site is expected to start in early October and be completed in December, Spaque said.

Clearing the A601 will also start in October and should take nine months.

“This will allow the sorting facility to continue to absorb its usual volumes without becoming saturated,” the company said. “The volume of waste on this 10-kilometre site is now approaching 100,000 tonnes. Waste still arrives every day.”

During a visit to the A601 at the beginning of September, Walloon Environment Minister Céline Tellier indicated that the rate of waste to be recycled had been revised upwards to between 50 and 60%, whereas the authorities had initially expected a rate of 20 to 30%.

The Brussels Times

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