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Visit of 21 August 2001 to Powderhall Waste Transfer Station

The first event of the 2001 session was held on Tuesday 21st August 2001 when a party of members visited Edinburgh City Council's Powderhall Waste Transfer Station.

Powderhall WTSd

Powderhall Waste Transfer Station.

© John G. Fender 2010

The visit began with an introductory video that illustrated the problems faced by the Council in dealing with waste. Edinburgh has a population of 460,000 and the City Council collects and disposes of some 250,000 tonnes of waste annually, both domestic and trade. The Council also has some 800 miles of streets to keep clean. Refuse Collection is undertaken by the Council's own Refuse Collection Direct Service Organization whilst keeping the streets clean is the responsibility of the Street Cleansing Collection Direct Service Organization.

Waste arrives at Powderhall where it is weighed and tipped into one of four pits in the main building. Each pit can hold 250 tonnes of waste and some 500 tonnes of waste arrives at Powderhall each day. The waste is then transferred onto a conveyor belt taking it to containers where it is compacted. Each container of compacted waste weighs approximately 13 tonnes. The containers are then loaded onto a train by that takes the waste to a landfill site near Dunbar. Currently some 250,000 tonnes of waste are dealt with in this manner. Sending waste for disposal at a landfill site is currently the most cost-effective method.

25 tonne Forklift Truckd

The 25 tonne forklift truck at Powderhall, with some of the containers it lifts on the right.

© John G. Fender 2010

The tour of the plant enabled members to inspect the pits where the waste is brought by refuse collection vehicles and the overhead crane was also seen. The process was explained in detail and the party then had the opportunity to see the 25 tonne forklift truck that is used to put the containers onto the trains. A loaded train was also present. One train, consisting of 39 containers, leaves Powderhall each day (Mondays to Saturdays). The Party also saw various street cleaning vehicles in the garage.

The tour concluded with another video and the opportunity to ask questions, during which members were given detailed answers to various points. The Scottish Branch would like to thank Edinburgh City Council's Environmental and Consumer Services Department for their hospitality and our guides for the evening, Josie and Lindsay, who provided a detailed insight into the function of Powderhall Waste Transfer Station.

Report by John Fender.


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