Overstuffed Loulé landfill expands to “third cell”

After all the controversy, Algar – the Algarve’s solid waste disposal company – has won the vital extra space it needs in Cortelha (Loulé borough) for Sotavento (eastern Algarve) rubbish.

In June, Público explained that councillors were dragging their heels over Algar’s bid to expand its bursting infill footprint, on the basis that the land the company wanted is designated as national ecological reserve (REN).

Then came a “mysterious fire” that somehow “freed up vital space” (click here).

Now – with still no answers to environmentalists’ queries about how the site is being managed and what caused the fire – national media reports that Algar is busy on constructing its third ‘cell’, destined to start receiving 130,000 tons of waste per year for the next 10 years.

The sprawling landfill will “serve the populations” of Loulé, Faro, Olhão, São Brás de Alportel, Tavira and Vila Real de Santo António.

Work underway is expected to be concluded within 16 months and has been costed out at €4 million.

Says the company: “The new cell is being constructed with the best techniques available in environmental preservation which guarantee against any leakages into the soil and which protecting underground aquifers”.

The base of the cell “will be fitted with a drainage system to capture effluents produced”, and these will then be sent on for “treatment” at a special station for leachates (contaminated water).

Biogas drainage is another feature of construction and will allow for the “de-gasification of waste mass, and consequent capture of the same for the production of electrical energy”.

But the bottom line is that Algar has got exactly what it wanted when earlier stories suggested that support for an even larger Loulé landfill site is lukewarm to say the least.

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