Drilling Down on a Cleaner Future

Drilling Down on a Cleaner Future

 by Waste Management Review


As Australia repositions itself to become a circular economy and meet government targets for reducing waste to landfill, Enviropacific is setting its own zero waste agenda.

The environmental service business has commissioned a drill mud plant to wash the sludge from Non-Destructive Digging (NDD) projects and recover materials to be reused.

NDD Plant Solve

Steve Matthews, Enviropacific General Manager, says while there are drill mud plants along the eastern
seaboard of Australia, the Enviropacific plant has “a bit of extra engineering” to allow the company to aim for 100 per cent recovery.

The plant has been designed as an addition to Enviropacific’s SOLVE processing facility in Victoria which
uses specialist thermal technology to treat contaminated soil.

“In the remediation space we’re all about looking for opportunities to remove contamination from the environment. This plant helps facilitate that process where we also physically recover those materials,” Steve says. “The treatment of drill muds is becoming more common in Australia.

What differentiates our plant is the hydro tips at the front end of processing and our propriety water
treatment plant at the back end. “We’re really aiming for 100 per cent recovery.”
The plant, designed by equipment company CDE Global, can process up to 30 tonnes of NDD mud an hour, with a surge capacity of 60 tonne an hour for two hours.

A hydro tip allows trucks to empty loads straight into the plant and processing to begin. The plant will sort NDD mud into oversized rocks and gravels, segregate naturally occurring sands and pull out silts and clays, each becoming products that can be reused rather than be sent to landfill.

What materials can’t be recovered during the cleaning process will be diverted to the onsite thermal plant
which destroys contaminants in the soil, leaving a product suitable for use in road base or industrial fill.

Water used throughout the process is also recycled.

“These materials have been washed rather than just screened so we’re hoping to provide materials of a high quality,” Steve says. “There are markets through construction and demolition to take building rubble and reuse it, but we’re hoping to add an extra layer of recovered material and get high-quality
markets at the other end.”

Romil Ghaswala, Enviropacific Business Development Manager for Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia, has worked closely with Steve on understanding market demands. He says companies involved in NDD have traditionally had an avenue of disposal, but treatment options have changed over time and solutions that involve a circular outcome and zero landfill are now being sought.

Enviropacific has been built on an ethos of providing sustainable solutions for waste owners with a focus on improving environmental outcomes. It has been involved in some landmark remediation projects
including the Fitzroy Gasworks site in Melbourne and the Armidale Gasworks remediation.

Romil says Enviropacific has been treating PFAS for more than 10 years using a mobile water treatment system. That system has been incorporated into the new wash plant. Laboratory trials show the plant can
remove PFAS beyond detectable limits.

Dino Adikaram, Business Development Manager at SOLVE, is ensuring the plant is compliant with environmental and recover and reuse orders and is working through analysis and sampling plans to find
more areas for the end product to be used.

“Lab-testing wise, this plant produces material as clean as it can be,” Dino says. “After three years of
development, it’s great to be at the point we are now.”

Steve believes the company has a strong chance of reaching its zero waste goals.

“We have a great facility, not only for Enviropacific, but the waste industry. We play a unique role in that we’re a service to the industry.”

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