Covasna County on the Transylvanian plain in central Romania is populated mostly by rural Hungarian communities living on flat agricultural land. When the County’s waste handling facilities reached breaking point, the EU stepped in with funding to set up the Integrated Waste Management Project to modernise the County’s waste management infrastructure and bring it up to compliance with EU legislation.
Our team is working as resident engineer on the €100 million programme, as defined by the County’s civic rules. In this role our team of ten onsite engineers has supervised all aspects of the work, tightly controlling budgets and schedules in partnership with the project management team.
Our Project Director, Lucian Pavel, describes the project’s origins: “The County had a number of city dumps, which were basically huge mountains of rubble filled with urban and rural waste. These sites didn’t comply with environmental policy and were becoming a real source of pollution and a significant risk to human health and the environment.
“The project we’re working on is one of the first of its kind in Romania. It will provide a whole new waste management process to deal with municipal solid waste, from households, streets, parks and gardens, markets, and commercial and industrial activities.”
Closing the existing landfill sites
The project involves closing down four non-compliant landfills in the County and building a new, integrated Waste Management Centre and a transfer station.
The new waste management centre is to be built on a relatively remote, 16-hectare site. Its total storage capacity will be approximately 1 million cubic metres and its estimated useful life is 21 years. The new landfill will have three cells – one to be built immediately and the others in 2020 and 2026.
The new centre will offer a range of other facilities, such as a rainwater management system, and stations for waste sorting and composting. Proper access roads will connect the centre with the transfer station, from where waste stored in 20-tonne containers will be brought to landfill when a container is full.
Lucian Pavel continues: “We were closely involved in reviewing the design for the new facilities and our team will supervise the closure of the existing sites and the new build.
“As well as improving local quality of life by reducing pollution and odour, the project will create long-term jobs and opportunities in both waste management and associated services, such as transport.”
Keeping the project on track
The Romanian public procurement process has created some hurdles for our team to jump. A legal challenge from a disgruntled bidder delayed mobilisation by a year. Lucian concludes: “It was frustrating for both us and our client and we had to streamline our service and reschedule resources to deal with the delay. We had to replace a number of people who we had originally proposed as part of our team when they left to find work on other projects.
“However, we have maintained a very strong relationship with the client by showing complete flexibility and adapting to a revised schedule.”