Magħtab incinerator to rise to 60 metres

The national waste agency has presented a visual impact assessment of the waste-to-energy facility proposed at Magħtab whose highest chimney will rise up to 60m above ground level, immediately next to the engineered landfill facility

The project will cover area of five  football grounds with a 60m chimney
The project will cover area of five football grounds with a 60m chimney

The national waste agency has presented a visual impact assessment of the waste-to-energy facility proposed at Magħtab whose highest chimney will rise up to 60m above ground level, immediately next to the engineered landfill facility.

It will surpass the height of the present ‘mountain’ which stands as a memory of the uncontrolled dumping of waste in the past.

The highest chimney will be 102m tall – nearly as high as the Portomaso tower – but 42 meters will be located underground level.

The visual impact study forms part of an outline planning application presented by Wasteserv to build the incinerator over 34,000 square metres of disused agricultural land in Magħtab.

The new waste-to-energy plant includes ancillary facilities related to pollution abatement, cooling, and other supporting functions. 

The plans foresee a 20m-high water pump house, located near the Coast Road, with pumps and a chlorination compressor to handle the plant’s cooling system.

Magħtab was chosen after a site-selection study that considered different locations, including sites near the Ta’ Barkat sewage treatment plant in Xgħajra, near the power station in Delimara and near the Sant Antnin recycling plant in Marsaskala.

One important consideration was its proximity to sea water which can be used for the plant’s cooling system.

The area located on the eastern side of the Magħtab waste complex was identified as the most appropriate location, given that it is the one most distant from large settlements, and the one that would have the least impact in terms of ecological footprint and tree cover.

An issue flagged in the report is the possible negative impact the incinerator’s cooling system on the nearby marine environment.

The discharge of warm water to the sea could impact the extensive Posidonia meadows in the Bahar ic-Ċagħaq waters, with Wasteserv saying this had to be studied further.

Cooling towers can be used to reduce the water’s temperature to ambient water temperature before discharge.

Posidonia meadows, also known as the lungs of the Mediterrean, are a protected habitat according to EU law due to their importance in creating ideal habitats for marine life and in releasing oxygen.

The report hints at “further consideration” to seawater intakes and outlets, “so as to identify options that are technically feasible, yet have the least possible environmental impact”.

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