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Bukit Tagar Sanitary Landfill, located some 50km north of Kuala Lumpur, is a modern, large-scale, state of the art landfill facility which represents a major step forward in waste management technology in Malaysia. With a long-term capacity of 120 million metric tonnes of air space, the facility has sufficient capacity to service the projected total municipal solid waste to be generated in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor over the next 50 years. Situated in Ulu Selangor, the Bukit Tagar Landfill occupies a total land area of 1,700 acres. The isolated location of the site and separation from the region’s important groundwater aquifers, combined with the application of top-class landfill engineering, has ensured that the local environment has been safeguarded.

Starting in 2004, T&T Konsult Sdn Bhd was engaged by the landfill developer, KUB Berjaya Enviro Sdn Bhd, to plan, design and supervise development of the Bukit Tagar waste disposal facility. The objective was to overcome the problems associated with the closure of existing landfills at Taman Beringin in Kepong and Air Hitam in Puchong. The Bukit Tagar initiative involved an intensive fast-track programme of planning, design and construction, aimed at providing a long-term solution that supports the Government of Malaysia objectives in waste recovery, re-use and recycling. It has culminated in the construction of a world class sanitary landfill which represents the very best in private-public sector cooperation, in turn reflecting both the national interest and the health and safety of the regional community. The facility was successfully developed on a fast track programme to be operational within a six-month period whilst fully satisfying the requirements of the Department of Environment (DOE). The landfill received its first load of waste on 1 April 2005 and now handles some 3,000 tonnes of waste per day.

T&T Konsult’s brief was to ensure that the landfill is demonstrably world class in all respects and that the facility and its related waste transport system achieve the highest environment standards. The 500m buffer zone, not previously provided on other landfills in the country, ensures that the landfill’s isolation and natural topography provides a barrier to visual observation, odour and noise. Further, its location close to the North-South Highway reduces traffic impacts over those from the former landfills. Taken together, this has ensured that the facility represents a new standard in environmental protection.

Foremost amongst its innovative engineering achievement is T&T Konsult’s involvement in the design, construction and operation of the largest leachate treatment plant in South East Asia, equivalent in size to the previous largest plant situated in Hong Kong. This plant has a capacity of 1,000 m3/day and has been designed and developed to allow modular expansion up to 3,000 m3 /day. The plant is fully automated with sophisticated SCADA control systems whereby operator intervention requirements are minimised. The treatment process includes extensive reed beds polishing and land irrigation of treated leachate to achieve a zero discharge of treated leachate from the site. The storage ponds, aeration ponds and the treatment plant have been provided with comprehensive secondary containment and monitoring system, thereby guaranteeing that no leachate can be discharged from the site without detection and treatment.

On a regional perspective and for the City of Kuala Lumpur, waste disposal concerns of recent decades should now be a thing of the past. The operation of poorly located, unlined dumpsites in the region can now be stopped and the community can now focus on the wider initiatives of waste minimization, confident in the knowledge that it has one of the best landfills in the world as its final waste disposal repository.

The Bukit Tagar facility has set new standards in landfill design, meeting the strictest environmental requirements and international design standards. It has also demonstrated that leachate can be successfully managed and treated, even in tropical zones with high annual rainfall and intensities. It has, in turn, contributed to the body of knowledge in tropical landfill design, operation and maintenance. Around this core facility, the Government can proceed to confidently develop its long-term waste management strategy, accounting for the imperatives of re-use, re-cycle and recovery.

Based on the input and accomplishments by T&T Konsult Sdn Bhd, the IEM Council at its meeting held in January 2008, unanimously agreed to confer upon T&T Konsult Sdn Bhd the IEM Outstanding Engineering Achievement Award 2008 for making a significant contribution towards the progress of engineering profession and quality of life in Malaysia.