CITIZEN PARTICIPATION IN IMPROVING SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT PRACTICES IN RADOMIR
CITIZEN PARTICIPATION IN IMPROVING SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT PRACTICES IN RADOMIR Summary
Building on their achievements in previous phases of the Bulgarian Resource Cities Pro gram, the municipality of Blagoevgrad and the city of Auburn , Alabama , partnered with the municipality of Radomir to help the latter replicate best practices in solid waste management that Blagoevgrad and Auburn had previously developed. The current waste management operator, Euroquest Industries Ltd., also participated in the implementation of the project.
The Bulgarian and U.S. partners discussed several aspects of waste management and developed an action plan, which they adopted in February 2003. The main objectives of the action plan were to improve the opera tions of Radomir s landfill and to implement a pilot source separation program . As part of the plan, the Radomir municipal administration optimized and renovated its waste manage ment system and improved the existing landfill at Petrovo. A portion of the landfill would become a transfer and sorting station, while the remaining portion was to be reclaimed and planted with trees. Problem Statement
The problems faced by the Radomir municipal administration and municipal council included:
Pollution and the existence of many illegal dumps in the municipality
Insufficient number and deplorable condition of waste containers
Limited financial capabilities of the municipality
Lack of understanding and support of the citizens
Inefficient waste collection schedules
Need to improve the operations and maintenance of the existing landfill in the Petrovo neighborhood and the village of Kosharite . Project Description
To address the above problems and meet the first objective of the action plan, the partners identified specific measures for the improvement of landfill management and solid waste collection in cooperation with Euroquest Industries, Ltd., a private company with which Radomir contracts for waste collec tion and disposal and for the operation of the existing landfill. The proposed short-term measures to improve landfill opera tions included correcting the slope, covering the slope with a dirt layer of at least 15 centi meters, reviewing any wind surveys and developing related recommendations, testing for methane, and reclaiming soil at closed cells.
The partners also identified the following measures to be implemented in the long term:
Installation of a methane-collection system (in case of positive methane tests).
The second major objective of Radomir s cooperation with the U.S. counterparts involved implementing a pilot source separation program. The program incorporated the following specific tasks:
Develop and implement a pilot program to separate recyclables from the total solid waste flow.
Partially implement source separation of ash.
Develop and implement a program to increase citizen awareness and participation.
Replace waste containers.
Fully implement source separation. Implementation Timeline
The implementation timeline varied for the activities in the action plan. For short-term tasks, the timeline was one year (by the end of 2003). For long-term tasks, the timeline was two or more years. Solutions Overview
The following items have been completed:
Slope correction was initiated but terminated, as there is a reclamation plan for part of the landfill that includes the slope.
A site for tree waste was allocated at the landfill.
The landfill is covered daily with 4 6 inches of compacted dirt.
Wind velocity is rather high (7.5 feet per second), with prevailing winds occurring mostly in the summer months (see graphic).
A soil reclamation plan was developed for the closed landfill cells. The plan was sub mitted to the Ministry of Environment and Water. Funding approval is pending.
The landfill is partially fenced. The access road was paved and is passable at any time. Access control was introduced to prevent entry by unauthorized persons, and an activity log was implemented to keep track of waste disposed.
Source separation bins were placed in two schools (6 bins).
At present, recyclable material is separated at the landfill. The plastic waste is washed, ground, granulated, and packaged. Paper is dried and baled.
Radomir adopted the U.S. counterparts practice and began educating the students at two schools in the city. A club, Mountainous Crystal, was established at one of the schools and successfully participated in an applied science conference in Pernik in 2003. Special source separation bins were placed in these schools. The bins are color-coded for the different types of waste (glass, paper, and plastics).
In 2003, the waste management operator purchased the following equipment:
o 491 park bins
o 2 Isuzu trucks
o 2 GAZ-66 flatbed container trucks
o 1 GAZ-53 dumpster
o 3 NIVA SUVs
o 1 DT-75 bulldozer
o 1 front loader.
The following items are being implemented:
Construction of a sediment collection pond
Cleanup of illegal dumps in the villages
Installation of two wind generators
Installation of two water tanks for plastic and glass washing and for use in case of emergencies at the landfill
Replacement of the remaining waste containers.
The following items are planned for future implementation:
Reclamation of 61 acres of the landfill:
o Planting of orchard trees on some of the reclaimed soil
o Construction of garages for landfill vehicles.
Construction of a transfer and sorting station.
Development of a work design for the overall improvement of the waste collection and disposal system.
Implementation of source separation based on Auburn s experience:
o Placement of source separation containers at all government buildings
o Promotion in the media
o Work with children
o Organization of a Clean Environment Day.
Participation in forums to exchange experiences between Bulgarian and foreign munici palities in order to replicate best practices. Benefits
Implementation of these activities will improve the municipal waste management system, increase citizen awareness, and make Radomir a resource for sustainable development and healthy life. The contribution of our counterparts from Auburn was invaluable. They provided basic information on improving landfill operations and shared their experience and practices with regard to developing an environmentally friendly waste management system. The technical and cultural experience accumulated during visits to the United States and other municipalities was valuable in providing new ideas applicable to Radomir. As a result of this approach, and thanks to the efforts of the municipal employees at Radomir s Environmental and Investment Projects Department and the operating company, the partners managed to achieve some initial successes in source separation and environmental preservation.
The following were specific benefits to the community:
Environmentally friendly waste management.
Environmentally friendly maintenance that made the landfill compliant with current regulations.
Reduced risk of pollution to agricultural land bordering the landfill.
More expedient use of municipal budget funds.
Reduced risk of landfill fires and minimization of unpleasant odors.
In addition, the valuable experience acquired during meetings with Blagoevgrad and Auburn counterparts serves as a basis for replication and optimization of environmental manage ment processes. Conclusion
The cooperation with Blagoevgrad and Auburn gave the Radomir team an opportunity to choose and implement the best practices applicable to the conditions in the municipality. As a result, Radomir has achieved good results in optimizing its waste collection and disposal system and landfill operations.
There are still problems related to the existence of illegal dumps. These problems are common to all Bulgarian municipalities and can be resolved by the adoption of new practices.
The Radomir team is committed to a clean environment and sustainable development and is grateful for the Auburn and Blagoevgrad counterparts valuable guidelines on environmental management.