SEREMBAN: The Tanah Merah landfill in Port Dickson, which is the biggest in Negri Sembilan, has been ordered to close indefinitely after leachate from the dumping ground was found to have spilled into a river.

The order to close the landfill, which receives 800 tonnes of domestic waste daily from Nilai, Port Dickson and Seremban, was made by the Environment Department (DOE) on Aug 29.

State urban wellbeing, housing and local government and new village committee chairman Teo Kok Seong said the DOE had ordered the landfill operator – Cypark Smart Technology Sdn Bhd – to close the facility until all rehabilitation and repair works have been completed.

“The waste, which until recently was sent to the landfill, has been transported to the Ulu Maasop landfill in Kuala Pilah and Sg Muntoh landfill in Jelebu.

“This has caused logistics problems as both landfills are located quite a distance away,” he said when met at his office yesterday.

Teo said both landfills were also located in hilly terrain and that a sudden increase in the number of garbage trucks and other machinery there had also upset residents.

“We held a meeting with the relevant parties and Cypark has been told to quickly submit an action plan to prevent leachate from flowing into Sg Anak Air Unyai again.

“Once this is done, the operator will be allowed to resume operations,” he said, adding that the spill did not affect the operations of any water treatment plants.

Teo said residents in the area had also complained that their cattle died after drinking the polluted water.

Checks by the DOE on the river water quality in recent days has found the water to be safe.

The operator, he said, claimed that the leachate spilled into the river following heavy rains that caused bunds at the landfill to give way.

The closure of the landfill has also disrupted household waste collection, especially in Nilai.

Teo described the temporary closure as a “crisis” as the authorities were forced to move their household waste to much smaller landfills.

He said in the event Cypark was unable to meet the conditions, the state government might look for a new site for a landfill or send the waste to neighbouring states.

“Action will also be taken against Cypark for what has happened,” he said, adding that the operator had given a commitment to complete repair works by Friday.

As a long-term measure, Teo said Cypark had pledged to commission its brand new waste-to-energy (WTE) facility in the next few days.

“The WTE will be used to incinerate the garbage and this will, among others, help generate electricity.

“The waste can be used to make bricks or pave roads,” he said.

Residents can call SWM Environment at 1-800-88-7472 or WhatsApp to 012-618 0082 if their household waste is not collected as per the schedule.