SINGAPORE - The second phase of development at the Semakau Landfill has been completed, National Environment Agency (NEA) said on Saturday.
The second phase development of the landfill provides an additional 16.7 million cubic metres (the equivalent of nearly 6,700 Olympic-size swimming pools) of landfill capacity to meet the waste disposal needs of Singapore up to the year 2035 and beyond.
Based on the current usage and projected amount of waste generated in Singapore, all of the landfill cells of phase one of Semakau Landfill are expected to be filled by 2016, NEA said.
In order to address Singapore's waste disposal needs, phase two of development was introduced in 2011 to convert the remaining 157-hectare sea space into landfill space. This was done by closing the 160-metre gap at the southern perimeter bund of Semakau Landfill.
Phase two of the landfill was designed to maximise the landfill capacity and minimise the amount of sand used, thus lowering the overall construction cost.
Two engineering feats were achieved in phase two. This includes the construction of a 200-metre long floating platform and a floating wastewater treatment plant.
The floating platform allows dump trucks to discharge incineration ash directly into the landfill cell.
Due to the large area of the single cell and uneven seabed, a floating platform was built to spread the incineration ash to level the seabed to a depth of about two metres before conventional landfill operations using bulldozers and compactors can commence.
After closing the gap at the southern tip, the water within the cell will build up and be displaced by ash and rainfall. To prevent flooding, the excess water within the new cell will be treated at the wastewater treatment plant to meet Trade Effluent Discharge Standards before being discharged into the open sea.
In order to protect Semakau Island's vibrant ecosystem and rich biodiversity, over 700 colonies of corals in the lagoon were harvested and transplanted to Sisters' Island from September 2014 to January 2015.
Since June 2015, NEA has been working with nature groups to catch fish within the new lagoon so that they can be transferred to the open sea.
Over 450 fish have been transferred so far, and these efforts will continue until the new landfill operations begin in August 2015.
Minister of the Environment and Water Resources Dr Vivian Balakrishnan said: "Singapore's only landfill represents a balancing feat between physical development and environmental conservation. While it is necessary to meet the waste disposal needs of Singapore, our priority has always been to ensure that it is done in an environmentally sustainable way."
NEA will be re-opening Semakau Landfill to members of the public and nature groups from July 12 for educational and nature-based visits.
Interested parties may schedule visits by filling out the booking form at NEA's website.