Civil Designer Showcase

Visserhok Solid Waste Landfill Site - Arcus Gibb

Have you ever wondered what happens to the rubbish in the plastic bag once it is collected from your pavement? The challenges posed by the Visserhok Solid Waste Landfill Site got a young engineer at Arcus Gibb is Cape Town thinking about something most of us take for granted.

After 5 years experience designing roads and pavements, Nazeer Rahbeeni felt strongly that he would like to work on projects that had more of an environmental slant. Arcus Gibb obliged and a year ago transferred him to their Environmental Division for training and experience. "I have learnt a lot, but I know that I still have so much to learn", says Nazeer. "Our prime function is to create engineering solutions for environmental problems. We are responsible and accountable for the restoration of the sites, it's such a far cry from the old days", he continued.

The Visserhok site is big, 1000m by 900m, and can handle approximately 600 tons of solid waste per day. The first cell, measuring 300m x 100m with variable depths required bulk earthworks of 150 000m3. The second cell is slightly bigger at 330m x 150m delivering approximately 400 000m3.

"The trend is towards protecting the ground water. This site will ensure a major improvement in the available uncontaminated water supply in the area, says Nazeer. Arcus Gibb facilitated meetings with all stakeholders, including the local communities.

"Civil Designer provides us with a wonderfully easy way to generate ‘what-if ‘ scenarios. This was particularly beneficial when we need to determine when to put in the liquid co-disposable waste. We could put in various possible heights of envelope above the design level and the programme gave us accurate figures quickly and painlessly. This airspace figure is crucial to us", says Nazeer.

A concrete retaining wall was sunk along the one edge of the entire site that now shields the neighbouring property from the existing fill site and will prevent any lateral seepage.

"The layering required for waste sites is complex. Not only do we have to prevent seepage, we also have to prevent gas from escaping. Visserhok will ensure that the surrounding communities will enjoy a 120% improvement compared to living next to old style waste sites, says Nazeer proudly.
Visserhok Solid Waste Landfill Site | Arcus Gibb

"Although this site is a state-of-the-art project for South Africa, we still have a way to go to catch up to the developed world. Japan is the world leader – you don't see a speck of dust there. We are about ten years behind Europe and America, but scarce resources do hamper us".

"The Visserhok site will probably be in better condition when the site 7-year lifespan is up than we started. In the future I hope to be involved in cutting-edge engineering solutions that are sensitive to our environment", says Nazeer.

"Civil Designer was outstanding in planning the site lifestyle at the Karwyderskraal site that caters for the Overstrand Municipality. We needed to know exactly how much clean material to take out for the cover and layer-works. Civil Designer just made the job so easy, it is reliable and easy to use, so I could get on and simply work", says Nazeer.

"The challenges for me are still to come. Engineering solutions are the way forward in South Africa. Civil engineering is such a vital and important profession in any country. It provides the infrastructure for development and growth that is so often taken for granted. It is great to have a strong South African package to work with", says Nazeer.

image Nazeer Rahbeeni joined Arcus Gibb as Engineer-in-Training in their Roads Department in 1997. Here he worked on safety improvements for Section 3 of the N1 in the Hex River Valley. He also designed the drainage system for the project. He acted as the Assistant Resident Engineer responsible for all quantities and quality tolerances on Section 11 of the N2 on a resealing project. He was also seconded to SNA Consulting Engineers for four months to work on the Vertical alignment Design for Section 8 of the N1, a rehabilitation project from Platdoorn River to Nelspoort. In August of 2000 he was promoted to Senior Engineer-in-Training in the Environmental Department at Arcus Gibb where he has worked on the Thesen Island project and the Visserhok waste landfill site

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