57.7%
separate waste collection
in an area with 3.3 million
inhabitants
94.6%
of recovered waste
the share of separate waste
collected, in favour of a circular
economy
103,000
tons of recycled plastic
produced by Aliplast

Environmental impact assessments presented during the year

The IEA and Screening procedures are accompanied by a series of environmental assessments aimed at assessing the effects of the works (both during construction and at the project stage) on the environment and on human health and well-being, based on the characteristics of the project and following analysis of the components involved in their ante operam condition. Interference with the following components was analysed in particular: atmosphere, water resources, soil and subsoil, flora, fauna and ecosystems, noise, human health and well-being, landscape and cultural heritage, settlement system and socio-economic conditions.

The approach used involves performing specific model simulations in addition to qualitative and descriptive evaluations, using software and calculation algorithms, to obtain numerical data that can be compared with current industry regulations and so as to assess the significance of the impact. Model simulations are carried out in particular for the emission of pollutants and odorous substances into the atmosphere, and noise emissions.

All the simulations carried out involve the precise characterization of the sources and the evaluation of the most disadvantageous scenario in order to make out a precautionary assessment. To assess the visual effect of the new works on the surrounding environment, and specifically for creating new lots/landfill sites, landscape assessments are carried out by using renderings and photomontages. In some cases (construction of the fourth lot of the landfill at Imola), the application was also accompanied by a specific “Health impact assessment and proposed health monitoring plan”.

Once all impacts have been assessed, specific mitigation measures are identified, where necessary, in order to reduce their impact and, where that is not possible, specific compensatory measures are prepared (construction of PV plants, planting, etc.).

It must be noted that the design of the works is always carried out identifying and using the best available technologies as required by Legislative Decree 152/06 as amended and Article 29 bis, paragraph 3, which, for landfills, are defined by Legislative Decree 36/03.

The following Environmental Impact Assessment applications were activated in 2017:

  • Construction of sector 10 of the non-hazardous waste landfill in Ravenna at the Ravenna Industrial Zone at km 2.6 on the SS 16 road. In order to fully implement the requirements of the Regional Waste Management Plan, the project involves the construction of the tenth sector of the non-hazardous waste landfill, with a capacity of about 250,000 tonnes of waste.
    The project was carried out in compliance with the best available technologies identified by Legislative Decree 36/03 considering in particular the construction aspects and the operating and management procedures that are to be implemented. To preserve the soil beneath the landfill, a special waterproofing system has been designed in compliance with the provisions of Legislative Decree 36/03 by installing a single composite artificial confinement barrier compliant with the minimum requirements of Legislative Decree 36/03 with reference to the level of the aquifer. The bottom waterproofing system will then be supplemented by a leachate collection and pumping system that will allow the leachate to be removed for subsequent treatment. This new sector will be served by a biogas collection network that will be burned in endothermic engines to produce electricity, thus avoiding direct emissions into the atmosphere.
    In order to maintain a high protection level for the surface water media, the project includes measures to handle the rainwater that will fall on the new sector and adjacent areas. The measures are part of the general hydraulic regulation project for the entire plant engineering sector.
    The project also involves the construction of a definitive synthetic covering system, with a lower weight than a cover made of inert draining materials, which will therefore limit the overall sagging of the bottom of the landfill basin.
    Daily coverage will limit the waste surface area exposed to the weather. In addition, during the year, special management/operational measures will be adopted to reduce atmospheric impact, such as regular wetting of unpaved roads and limiting the transit speed of vehicles to minimize dust or periodic rat extermination campaigns to reduce the number of sinanthropic animals.
  • Construction of a new lot (fourth lot) of the landfill for non-hazardous waste, in the small valley adjacent to the existing landfill, on the Tre Monti plant site, located in the municipality of Imola, with a capacity of 1.125 million tonnes of waste.
    The project was carried out in compliance with the best available technologies identified by Legislative Decree 36/03 considering in particular the construction aspects and the operating and management procedures that are to be implemented.
    To preserve the soil, subsoil and groundwater, the landfill bottom waterproofing, in line with what has already been authorized for the lots currently in use, will be made by laying a HDPE covering on the clay already present on site such as to provide waterproofing characteristics that are considerably better than the minimum performance required by Legislative Decree 36/2003. The new system for draining, extracting, storing and pumping the leachate produced by the new lot 4 will be managed with the same logic and methods used for the currently authorized lots, in particular the pumping system for the storage basins has been designed adopting technical solutions that guarantee perfect sealing and a disposal potential that is considerably higher than the theoretical annual production estimate made for the expansion. In addition to the leachate collection network, the rainwater collection network from the lots being filled and the rainwater collection network for the internal roads and for the vehicle manoeuvring areas (equipped with a stormwater treatment system) will be built and kept separate. The new biogas collection network will be connected to the existing energy recovery plant, thus avoiding direct emission of biogas into the atmosphere.
    Daily covering will preclude access to waste by insects and other animals, wind dispersion and the emission of odours; in addition, upon completion of each layer, a second cover will be put in place to contain the biogas that is released from the mass of waste. For the final cover, two different solutions will be adopted, one for the sloping areas and another for the flat surfaces.
    In order to compensate the transformation of some forest areas as a result of the implementation of the planned works, two areas have been identified, one near the plant site and the other in an important hilly area, on which important renaturalisation works will be carried out. In order to compensate the CO2 emissions due to construction of the 4th lot and the related induced vehicle traffic, a photovoltaic system will be built on the roof of the mechanical-biological treatment plant at the site. The annual production expected for the photovoltaic system will be around 277.5 MWh/year.
  • Expansion with increase of the production potential of the existing plant for recovery of non-hazardous waste in which PET granulates and PE sheets are produced from plastic waste coming from the separate collection of solid municipal waste and special waste, located in the Municipality of Borgolavezzaro (NO).
    The measure concerns the increase of the current production potential of the section of the plant that deals with crushing and washing the PET. The upgrade also involves a substantial increase in incoming waste, installing new production and auxiliary plants, and the construction of new storage areas.
    The driver for these measures, in addition to concerns on the availability of incoming materials and on the capacity of the plastics market, there is also the will to pursue and further increase the virtuous cycle of waste recovery of from the separate collection of plastic, in particular the incoming waste is mainly provided by the Corepla consortium, which collects the material throughout the country, thus going beyond the local area.

In accordance with the regulations on Environmental Impact Assessment, the following Environmental Impact Assessment applications were carried out in 2017:

  • Increase in the maximum authorized quantity of waste that can be treated at the chemical-physical plant located in Modena, via Cavazza.
    The increase in incoming waste is equal to 12,000 tonnes/year, exclusively of non-hazardous waste. The above increase is mainly for landfill leachates and composting plants, which are necessary in view of seasonal rainfall trends.
    At the logistics level, the Area 2 chemical-physical plant in Modena plays a, strategic role in terms of centrality and proximity for the treatment of leachates generated in particular by landfills in the Modena area (Modena, Finale Emilia, Zocca, Montefiorino, Fanano and Pievepelago), in the Ferrara area (full landfills near Ferrara) and in the Bologna area (Sant’Agata Bolognese, Bentivoglio, Galliera and Guelfa-Bologna landfills).
    The application also envisages a change to the limits to discharge into public sewerage in relation to certain parameters, in particular an increase in the limit for total surfactants in order to be able to manage potential peaks of concentration attributable to the discharge of leachate from landfills during periods characterized by low atmospheric precipitation, and a decrease, on the other hand, of the exceptions authorized for BOD5 and COD considered possible on the basis of the characteristics of the waste entering the plant.
    The application also includes a request to modify the lime milk preparation system, which involves supplementing the water supply of the lime milk preparer with the wastewater/inorganic waste in storage, in order to reduce the consumption of drinking and industrial water, estimating a saving in consumption of approximately 3000 m3/year of industrial water.
  • Project to build a new crushing line at the selection and recovery plant located in Granarolo dell’Emilia in Via del Frullo 3/F (BO).
    The request in question essentially consists in the introduction of a new type of waste treatment (activity R12, crushing), by installing an electric crusher, to be placed under an existing shelter, to crush quantity of wood equal to 15,000 t/year (flow already delivered to the plant). The crusher can also be used to treat medium/large-sized non-reusable fractions, in order to make them suitable for subsequent energy recovery at authorized plants.

Lastly, in 2017, the main requests for Environmental Authorizations concerned:

  • the Tre Monti plant site, located in the Imola municipality, for which authorization was granted in December of 2016 to increase the height of the existing landfill to reach a capacity of 375,000 tonnes and to upgrade the mechanical-biological treatment plant (TMB) for non-separated municipal waste. During 2017, therefore, waste disposal to landfills began with the new authorization and, in autumn, work started on upgrading the mechanical-biological treatment plant, which will be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2018. In accordance with the provisions of the Regional Waste Management Plan, approved on 3 May 2016, development of the plant site continued by filing a new Environmental Impact Assessment application in March 2017 and substantially modifying the Integrated Environmental Authorization for the project to build a new landfill lot (called the 4th lot) in the valley adjacent to that of the existing landfill for a useable volume of 1.125 million tonnes of waste, as described in the previous pages.
  • The Sant’Agata Bolognese plant site, for which the Environmental Impact Assessment procedure was successfully completed in March, including a substantial amendment to the Integrated Environmental Authorization, relating to the new plant configuration that involves:
    – final closure of the landfill site and no expansion;
    – construction and management of an anaerobic digestion plant and revamping of the existing composting plant to maximize the recovery of material (production of about 20,000 t/y of high-quality compost) and energy (about 7,400,000 Nm3/y of biomethane) by treatment of the organic fraction of separately collected waste. The biomethane produced will be fed into SNAM’s pipeline network, by building a link to the existing SNAM network. The plant’s treatment capacity is 135,000 t/y of organic waste, of which 100,000 t/y of organic waste from separate collection and 35,000 t/y of woody-cellulose waste (pruning and green waste).
    The project requires major investments to renew/renovate existing plant equipment without occupying new areas. During the design phase, particular attention was paid to reduce emission of odours related to these types of treatments (replacing the open leachate storage tubs with sets of tanks, enclosing the treatment and storage areas and extraction and treatment of the exhaust air). Concerning biomethane production and sale, in August, at the end of the authorization process, we were granted the joint authorization to build and operate electricity plants using renewable sources pursuant to Legislative Decree 387/2003. In fact, this permit is necessary to build and operate the upgrading plant that purifies the biogas produced by anaerobic digestion of waste, turning it into biomethane.
  • The plant site of Firenzuola (Florence), where preparatory work continued on the Environmental Impact Assessment procedure for the extension of the Il Pago landfill, activated in 2016, consistently with the requirements of Tuscany’s Regional Waste Management Plan. The project involves enlarging the existing landfill (called the 5th lot), adding a capacity of 220,000 tonnes. In 2017, we solved the issues of incomplete availability of the intervention, namely a section of the no longer used old provincial road, and the area was transferred from the Metropolitan City of Florence to Herambiente after completion of the procedure needed to sell the asset. Herambiente also attended public meetings to provide clarification and to respond to the questions raised by residents, with a view to maximum transparency on the motivations and technical choices underlying the initiative.
  • The Baricella (Bologna) plant site, where preparatory work continued on the Environmental Impact Assessment procedure, including the substantial modification of the IEA, activated in December 2015, to expand the landfill by adding a new section, adjacent to the existing one, with a capacity of about 1,850,000 tonnes of non-hazardous special waste. In addition to technical and institutional meetings, such as Services Conferences, Herambiente also attended public meetings to provide clarification and to respond to questions raised by residents, to offer maximum transparency on the motivations and technical choices underlying the initiative.
  • The Finale Emilia (MO) plant site, for which preparatory work continued on the Environmental Impact Assessment procedure, including the substantial modification of the IEA, activated in November 2015, relating to the landfill mining of the exhausted landfill, in conjunction with the expansion project and the preparation of 11 new lots. Landfill Mining (LFM) is a process applied to existing landfills, which consists in excavating the deposited waste and mechanically treating it to separate a reusable fraction from a residual portion that is placed in a new landfill, designed with modern protection criteria. In this specific case, the main purpose of the planned LFM operation is to remove and reallocate waste to landfill lots that are more technologically and environmentally sound and to recover materials (mainly soil, aggregates and fine materials) as technical volumes, within the lots of this landfill. The expansion project will provide a total of 1,860,000 m3 of conferral volume: 330,000 m3 of this will be used to put back waste from the closed landfill, while the remaining 1,530,000 m3 will be used for new conferral volume. Technical and institutional meetings were held in 2017.

In 2017, the most significant permit changes for waste-to-energy plants were:

  • Modena waste-to-energy plant, in September 2017 we obtained an amendment to of IEA for the operation of the plant at saturation of the thermal load and as a result the elimination of the maximum annual quantitative limit for waste treatment and of the limit for conferral of special waste;
  • Forlì waste-to-energy plant, with permanent shutdown of the pre-selection plant for non-separated urban waste.

Both of the above-mentioned permit amendments are the result of the implementation of Emilia-Romagna’s Regional Government Regional Waste Management Plan (RMP).