Landfill planning that saves

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At ATC Williams, we’re on a campaign to improve the quality of landfill operations in Australia. Our motivation is that the industry must not delay in meeting higher standards of performance in the face of pressures driven by the environmental values understandably held by mainstream society.

Mal Jones, Senior Principal at ATC Williams, has advocated the necessity for correct landfill operational planning for much of his 35 years working across the waste management industry.

“A considered approach to landfill planning will save on all levels – save on air space, save on environmental harm, save on dollars and save on stress”, says Mal.

ATC Williams sees a widening gap between the landfill owner and the community, possibly through a perception that operators do not uphold environmental values. We know that this is far from the truth. Our waste management industry, in the main, is highly motivated to sustain the environment while fulfilling an essential role in the waste management cycle. Operators are striving to meet environmental regulations and approvals, as they balance the variability of demand against increasingly high levels of community expectation.

The issues of poor landfill planning

“Time and again, we observe the lost opportunities in landfill operation. Sacrificed air-space through incorrect waste compaction, inconvenience to customers by poor access conditions, and reactive responses where threats of environmental harm emerge. These are all real issues that come at a cost,” says Mal.

Mal was due to present on landfill planning at the ‘Waste 2020’ conference in Coffs Harbour, which is now unfortunately postponed. His presentation emphasises the issues that occur from poor landfill planning, such as:

  • Misdirection of stormwater runoff, sometimes discharging to clean water storages or even nearby creeks
  • Lack of compaction and cover layers, causing excessive stormwater infiltration and resultant leachate discharge problems
  • Loss of access to working areas, or excessively long internal haul distances
  • Uncontrolled working faces, being exposed to vermin and stormwater
  • Exposure of nearby land and residences to wind-blown litter, dust and odour
  • Over-filling across site boundaries or over-steepening of batters

Our simple message

Landfill planning is a simple and relatively inexpensive process that provides an opportunity to step back and consider the best operational approach. A carefully considered landfill plan will provide simple layouts and diagrams to show the landfilling steps, supported by easy to follow procedures. Mal says, “Your landfill plan should be tailored for the operator and be accessible for everyday use by all involved.”


The message to our clients and colleagues is clear – there are many savings to be gained from responsibly and correctly planning your landfill operations. Now is the time for landfill owners and operators to review their landfill operations approach, and implement the changes required to achieve available savings.

Mal Jones leads a team of nearly twenty skilled professionals at ATC Williams, providing a full suite of waste management and waste planning services.