Issues with the energy from waste plant in Bolton, which is run by Viridor but owned by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), are expected to be addressed this month following a “significant number of temporary shutdowns” since it re-opened in July.
The 100,000 tonne facility on Raikes Lane was hit by a large industrial fire in September 2017 (see letsrecycle.com story).
Since then, the GMCA introduced contingency measures which meant waste which would have gone to Bolton has been instead sent as Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) to the Runcorn Thermal Power Station.
In a recent meeting of the GMCA, it was confirmed that the site re-opened in July this year but without power generation. However, according to the Authority, there have since “been a significant number of temporary shutdowns”, predominantly for boiler tube leaks, boiler feed pumps and filter and pump repairs.
“These issues are scheduled to be addressed in the November planned maintenance shutdown,” the Authorities papers added.
In a statement to letsrecycle.com, a spokesperson for the authority confirmed that the facility should be operational in December this year, and added that in the meantime it has still managed to increase landfill diversion rates.
“Following the fire at the facility in September 2017, which damaged the power generation turbine building, the incineration facility was returned to operation (without power generation, whilst a replacement turbine was procured and installed, and the power generation building refurbished). Further repairs and testing are underway during the scheduled November maintenance shut down and the facility should be back online in December 2018,” they explained.
The spokesperson added: “During the period when repairs were taking place, contingency measures were introduced and RDF production was maximised for Runcorn, therefore the GMCA was still able to increase landfill diversion by 2% compared to the same period last year (April to August 2017).”
The councillors present in the meeting also noted a report detailing the waste performance of the authority between April and August 2018, which was presented by its contractor Viridor.
According to the figures, the overall recycling rate in the area rose to 47.55%, compared to 46.44% in the same period last year.
When looking at waste sent to landfill, the report showed a total of 53,612 tonnes in that period, down from nearly 66,000 in the same period last year, giving an overall diversion from landfill rate of 89.26%, up from 87.16%.
When explaining the figures, the report said the closure of the Bolton TRF led to the difference.
The report added: “Continued provision of contingency measures were maximised to produce Refuse Derived Fuel production for Runcorn Thermal Power Station. Consequently, there was an overall increase in diversion of just over 2%.”
Reacting to the report as part of the latest minutes published from the meeting in September, members of the combined authority noted that the “issues in the report had not been rectified”, and confirmed that waste will continue to be diverted to Runcorn for the “short term period of the shutdown”.
The GMCA is made up of 10 Greater Manchester councils – Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan. However, Wigan is a unitary authority and makes its own arrangements for waste disposal.
Earlier this year, waste powers were transferred to the GMCA by the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority, as part of a devolution agreement for Greater Manchester (see letsrecycle.com story).