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Mega waste treatment plant to open in 2024

AN INTEGRATED waste treatment plant capable of processing up to half of Singapore’s solid waste will be in operation from 2024.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) will build the facility in Tuas. It can handle solid waste, food waste, recyclables from the National Recycling Programme and, in a first, sewage sludge from water treatment plants.

It will extract resources like biogas and energy from the waste, joining four existing waste-toenergy incineration plants in Tuas and Senoko and a fifth to be completed by 2018.

Incineration reduces waste’s volume by 90 per cent, so Singapore’s Semakau Landfill will be able to last until at least 2035.

In another first, the integrated facility will be located next to national water agency PUB’s new water reclamation plant, which will be completed in the early 2020s, so they can benefit from each other. Both have been allocated 68ha – about the size of 95 football pitches – in total.

The waste facility can generate power for the water plant which, in return, will supply it with treated used water for cooling and washing.

The close proximity also makes it easier and cheaper to transport the water plant’s sludge for treatment next door. By mixing food waste and sludge, the waste facility can produce more biogas and power.

“These synergies will keep the cost of solid waste disposal affordable in the long term,” said NEA chief executive Ronnie Tay.

PUB’s new water plant will have an integrated Newater factory to boost Singapore’s water self-sufficiency, and is part of the agency’s Deep Tunnel Sewerage System (DTSS) – Singapore’s long-term solution to used water management.

The DTSS is slated to be completed by 2022, and comprises tunnels to move used water by gravity to three advanced treatment plants in Kranji, Changi and Tuas.

These will feature new technology which will help them be more energy-efficient and produce less sludge.

When the DTSS project is completed, two conventional plants in Jurong and Ulu Pandan and their intermediate pumping stations will be shut down progressively.

The entire DTSS will reduce the used water infrastructure’s land footprint by 50 per cent, freeing up land for other uses.

The NEA and PUB yesterday announced at a Singapore International Water Week event that a partnership between design and consultancy firm Aecom and engineering giant Black & Veatch had won a tender to be the lead consultant for the second phase of the DTSS and the waste facility.

Phase 1 cost $3.4 billion and was completed in 2008. It covered northern and eastern Singapore, while Phase 2 will cover the west.

PUB chief executive Chew Men Leong signed the contract with the firms’ representatives yesterday, and said: “For a densely populated city state with limited land, the DTSS is a more strategic solution than renewing and expanding the used water infrastructure.”

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan, guest of honour at the signing, added: “Embarking on Phase 2 will bring us closer to fulfilling the vision we set out almost a decade ago.”

Last year, about three million tonnes of solid waste were disposed of.

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