State Local Government Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow admitted that Phase II would reach its capacity by 2012.
“Phase III has been earmarked for a Material Recovery Facility (MRF) which utilises Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) technology to deal with residual municipal waste.
“It’s going to cost RM18mil but it will be worthwhile in the long run. We cannot keep looking for places to turn into landfills,” he said.
A RM10mil leachate treatment plant would also be built in the hopes of cleaning up the environment.
Chow said the state was also looking to tap methane gas from Phase I to explore supplementary revenue from the generation and sale of bio-energy and participation in carbon trading under the Kyoto Protocol.
If the renewable energy project in Phase I was successful, it would be applied to Phase II.
Theoretically, the Pulau Burung landfill can be used for many years to come once the MBT was in place because its current capacity would be increased four-fold.
An MBT system is a waste processing facility that combines a sorting facility with a form of biological treatment such as composting or anaerobic digestion.
“No matter what, we will still need a landfill but the MBT will greatly reduce the waste.
“When Phase III reaches its capacity, we can go back to Phase I which by then would have been rehabilitated,” Chow said.
Apart from Pulau Burung, there was an older landfill in Jelutong and a transfer station in Batu Maung – both on the island. The initial plan was to rehabilitate the Jelutong landfill into a park but that was proving too costly.
The Jelutong landfill now serves as a dumping ground for construction materials.
Chow said a garbage transfer station would be built there soon to replace the one in Batu Maung.
“The Penang Development Corporation will take back the Batu Maung garbage transfer station for development next year,” he added.