Deonar landfill to finally get waste-to-energy plant

Hazardous fumes: Smoke emanating from a blaze at Deonar dumping ground. Repeated incidents of fire at the landfill led to a demand to shut it.   | Photo Credit: Vijay Bate

Seven years after the Bombay High Court told the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to shut the Deonar dumping ground, the civic body has finalised a contractor to set up a waste-to-energy plant there.

The BMC failed to find a contractor for at least five years, which led to inordinate delays and it coming under fire from the HC several times. Now, it has finalised a contractor for the first phase of converting 600 metric tonnes (MT)of waste into energy daily at a cost of around ₹600 crore.

This waste that will be processed in the first phase is the fresh waste coming to the dumping ground on a daily basis. The accumulated waste, also called legacy waste, will be tackled in the upcoming phases after its composition is studied. Eventually, all the waste that has been dumped at Deonar already will be processed and the fresh waste generated daily will also be processed there. The same is being done at Mulund, however no fresh waste is taken there.

Largest and oldest

Mumbai generates 7,000-7,500 metric tonnes of solid waste every day. Since the closure of Mulund dumping ground in 2018, the city only has two functional dumping sites — Deonar and Kanjurmarg. The dumping ground at Deonar is the largest and oldest one in the city, operational since 1927 with an area of around 132 hectares.

Following incidents of repeated fires at the ground, there was a firm demand to shut it. In 2013, the HC ordered that it and the Mulund ground be shut and a High Court monitoring committee has been overseeing this. When the BMC failed to tackle the issue, in 2016, the HC even banned construction in in the city. Even though Mulund has been shut, Deonar still has not been and receives around 1,000MT waste per day.

In April 2019, the court gave the BMC a final extension up to December to close it but recently, the civic body secured another extension. Right now, the height of garbage mounds is around 30 metres. The BMC had initially planned a 3,000 MT waste-to-energy plant at Deonar but when it did not get any response, it decided to break it down to a 600 MT and two 1,200 MT plants in three phases. The latest tender for the 600 MT plant was also floated twice and given four extensions. After this, the BMC finally received a response and has finalised a contractor for the job. It is only when the plant is completely set up that the ground will be shut for further dumping of waste.

“We took the help of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, to vet the technology put up by bidders and only after they approved did we give a go-ahead. Our estimate was ₹850 crore but in fact, we found a bidder who was qualified and bid lower than our estimate. The tender for phase II is also live, we will put forth all these points before the HC,” said additional municipal commissioner Vijay Singhal.

The contractor was chosen out of three who put forth their bids and the project is going to cost ₹670 crore. They have an experience of running a successful plant in Delhi and will take three years to construct this one. The contractor will use incineration to create around 25MW of electricity per day.

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Printable version | Sep 17, 2021 10:03:54 AM |

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