An old landfill was completely ecxavated and processed and replaced by a ward.
This terrain originally was mined for its sandy clay. Afterwards the created pit was filled with waste to level it again with the surrounding landscape, covering an area of almost 28.300 m2. The site received 48.000 tonnes of MSW during 20 years. Afterwards the terrain was abandoned for 50 years.
The whole site is located in a residential area at a short distance from the city centre of Turnhout with a good road connection. Research revealed that the historical pollution does neither pose a potential human health risk nor a potential proliferation risk. Still, the main purpose of this project was the recovery of the land for an allotment by removing and processing the waste first. The company Aertssen saw a profitable business case in this site and purchased the contaminated site.
The landfill mining project was first drafted in a voluntary Soil Remediation Project, which was approved by OVAM in 2016. The remediation mainly comprised out of a selective excavation and valorisation of the waste, off-site treatment and redisposal and on-site reuse of remediated soil.
The succes of this project was calculated in advance by using the net present value (NPV).
- Purchase of the site, planning and permits, excavation, valorisation, transport and site development for housing
- Selling land at a price of about €250/m², reuse of uncontaminated soil and certain inert materials on site.
The net present value of the project was €392.000. Aertssen bought the land for its value, which is around €225 per m² in that area, minus the costs of the remediation.
Evidence of success
Flanders is a densely populated area, comparable with other regions or urban areas in Europe. Additionally, there’s been a long time lack of a proper policy on spatial development, leading to fragmentation. By filling the gaps that landfills pose in residential areas, the suburban sprawl is slowed down or – in the future – could be reversed. In this specific case, the area will accommodate a total of 62 families and will provide over 6.300 m² of open space for water to infiltrate naturally.
There’s a chance on the nimby effect which actually occured in this project. Some locals thought it was better to let the landfill be as it is now in stead of digging up the waste again. Others would also loose their view on a green scenery and were not happy with this prospect.
Potential for learning or transfer
Regions with a challenging situation in their available land could find a solution in reusing old landfills in or very close to existing residential areas. Optimizing these residential areas to the benefit of safeguarding the countryside contributes to a more efficient public transport system, less mobility problems and lower governmental costs for infrastructure and utilities.
Concerning the implementation of the project, different partner roles were combined by one party only: the owner of the site, was an experienced contractor and was familiar with the working of an estate agency.
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