Educational trip to Sungai Paku Engineered Landfill

A GROUP of Geography students from Duli Pengiran Muda Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah College (Maktab Duli) visited the Sungai Paku Engineered Landfill (SPEL) in Tutong last Saturday after visiting the Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation (JASTRe) and Sungai Akar Transfer Station (SATS) earlier last month to fully understand Brunei’s Integrated Waste Management System (IWMS).

SPEL, the first engineered or sanitary landfill in Borneo, allows final disposal of solid waste in a secure manner by minimising the impacts on the environment.

Compared to a normal dumpsite such as where Sungai Akar once was, leachate or garbage juice coming from the landfill is captured and treated using effective biological and mechanical treatment which will then released back to Sungai Paku once it’s environmentally compliant.

Leachate contains both dissolved and suspended material which is very harmful to the environment seeping to the ground and can contaminate both soil and underground aquifer.

With this engineered landfill, the disposal site is protected by a geo-membrane underneath that prevents leachate from seeping affecting the groundwater below.

The group was welcomed and briefed by Head of Department of SPEL Anas Azam.

Maktab Duli students in a group photo

SPEL covers a total area of 110 hectares where 16 hectares are allocated for the disposal site.

The remaining ones are for the SPEL’s facilities such as the Leachate Treatment Plant (LTP), the Septic Sludge and Restaurant Grease Treatment System (SSRGTS) and the Crush and Demolition (C&D) Facility.

The design of SPEL was to last 15-20 years with an operating capacity of 500 tonnes of solid wastes per day.

The total capacity for the disposal site is approximately four million tonnes.

SPEL has been operating for eight years and as of June 30, SPEL has got 1.4 to 1.5 million tonnes in the landfill.

Despite having ‘No Plastic Bags’ and recycling initiatives now in Brunei Darussalam, there is still an increase of solid wastes where at times it exceeded the 500 tonnes daily capacity, especially during festive seasons.

If this figure continues to rise, the lifespan of SPEL will be shortened.

It’s up to the current and future generations to think of any innovative technologies or initiatives or to come up with something to reduce solid wastes.

The group had a site tour and the trip concluded with a group photograph.