Waterbeach: Waste Centre Shut Down

1 October 2012, 18:04 | Updated: 2 October 2012, 11:46

More of Cambridgeshire's waste from black bin bags will go to landfill, due to a breakdown at a waste treatment centre.

The facility, just off the A10 at Waterbeach, is run by AmeyCespa.

The mechanical biological treatment plant there, which cost around £42million, has only been running a near full capacity for the past two months.

It uses technology to process waste from black bins bags from households across Cambridgeshire.

Essentially, it further sorts all the remaining items householders haven't already recycled.

The facility inside the Compost Hall, is designed to cut down on the amount of waste sent to landfill.

However, one of two "waste management lines" suddenly stopped working because of a mechanical failure at the end of shift on the 18th of September - the details have only been released today (Monday 1st October).

The steel beam which suspends the sorting wheel which churns through the rubbish on one of the two separate operating channels cracked in  three positions, stopping operations. 

The site's operator, AmeyCepsa immediately shut down the second channel for safety reasons.

No-one was injured in the incident.

An investigation into the failure is now underway and a report into what caused the shut down, and how it can be fixed, isn't due until the end of October.

Until then, all black bin bag waste received at the centre will be sent straight to landfill.

As a result, materials which haven't been recycled by residents, but which could be recovered by the system, are also being dumped.

A statement from Cambridgeshire County Council reads: "AmeyCespa have made the Council aware of a mechanical problem they have experienced at the MBT plant at Waterbeach.  

Engineers are currently on site and are investigating what has happened.  

We have a fantastic record for recycling in the county which is due to the help and support we receive from the public and we are sure this will continue in the years to come."

In August, Cambridgeshire County Council claimed the facility had saved about £3m in landfill costs, by reducing the amount fo waste going to landfill, since it opened in 2009.

Both Cambridgeshire County Council and AmeyCespa say this won't in any way affect the collection of black-bin items, which will still go to the site, and be picked up on the same day as normal.

Items which have already been put out for recycling by people will still go to their various green and blue bin recycling plants.

The County Council has to pay £65 per tonne for materials sent to landfill.

There are currently 2,200 tonnes a week going into landfill at Waterbeach.

AmeyCespa and Cambridgeshire County Council are reassuring residents there will be no change to their rubbish collections, and where there are separate green, blue and black-bin back collections, they will continue as normal.

Matthew Shuter, Cabinet Member for Waste at Cambridgeshire County Council's told Heart it would be an "enormous help" if residents could recycle even more of the rubbish they throw out as it would mean, until the machine is fixed less rubbish would be sent to landfill.

It is not yet known how long it will take to fix the machine.

We're told there'll be no job losses following the incident as staff are being redeployed around the huge site.

There's currently between 7-10,000 tonnes of separated recycled waste taken from the black-bins which is in a "managed decomposing" state, which will then be recycled as normal when the machine is fixed.

Until then, the remainder and new black-bin material being sent straight to the site's landfill facility.