Permanent closure and rehabilitation of a non-engineered landfill on the Island of Gozo.
Qortin landfill with an area of 4.9 ha was operational from 1968 to 2004 and took 0.6 million tonnes of waste (33% municipal/commercial, 39% C&D and 28% industrial waste). In addition to concerns over potential impacts on human health and the environment through landfill fires, landfill gas production and emissions of leachate, Qortin landfill was not compliant with (nor could be made complaint with) the engineering requirements of Directive 1999/31/EC (the Landfill Directive). A strategy for the closure and rehabilitation of this landfill site formed part of the Solid Waste Management Strategy for the Maltese Islands.

Rehabilitation and restoration of the Qortin landfill was achieved by the:
- installation of engineered capping to improve control of gas emissions and reduce rainfall infiltration (and thus leachate production);
- control of surface water run-off using a drainage system with attenuation ponds;
- placement of subsoil and topsoil;
-restoration planting;
-ongoing maintenance and irrigation.

Future beneficial use at the Qortin landfill can only be achieved once combustion process (and associated waste settlement) and landfill gas production have reduced to acceptable levels.

The population in the area surrounding Qortin landfill is of over 12,000 and includes a tourism resort and the capital of Gozo. These will benefit from reduced visual disamenity, improved air quality and the future potential to use the site for recreational use.

Resources needed

The capital cost of this project was of €3.25m from the Cohesion Fund. This project has generated a number of jobs on the Island of Gozo. The landfill is monitored regularly; soil is topped up whenever necessary; landscaping is regularly watered, trimmed and maintained as necessary.

Evidence of success

This project involved the permanent closure of a non-engineered landfill and has achieved the following results:
- an improvement in the control of gas emissions;
- a reduction in rainfall infiltration and leachate production;
- control of surface water run-off using a drainage system with attenuation ponds;
- restoration planting using indigenous Maltese species;
- improved visual impact; and
- reduced odour generation.

Difficulties encountered

Good mitigation planning should be in place, in particular for the rehabilitation of a historic landfill site for which limited information is available. This would reduce the occurrence of delays.

Potential for learning or transfer

This project can be replicated for the rest of the closed landfills. This kind of rehabilitation project can be done with old landfill sites in all regions, most importantly in regions where the pressure on land is high and where all land should be valorised.

Please login to see the expert opinion of this good practice.

Main institution
WasteServ Malta Ltd.
Malta, Malta
Start Date
January 2008
End Date
December 2015


Please login to contact the author.