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Latvia: Liepaja Solid Waste Management
(Prototype Carbon Fund)

3 Project Documents

Project Photo 1
One of Latvia’s environmental priorities is the development of sanitary landfills and the improvement of solid waste management. Existing landfills pose an environmental and public health hazard and in some cases leachate from these sites pollutes the shallow groundwater from which 70% of drinking water is obtained. In coastal areas like Liepaja, Latvia’s third largest city, leachates can reach the harbor and then the Baltic Sea.

The Liepaja Solid Waste Management Project brings a state-of-the-art waste management system to the Liepaja region in Latvia. The project will establish a waste management facility demonstrating self-sustaining, modern management of municipal solid waste through maximum collection and utilization of landfill gas in the district of Liepaja. Other objectives include: a) demonstrating modern sanitary landfill techniques on a regional basis; b) strengthening institutional capacity at the local/regional levels on issues related to municipal solid waste management; c) arresting the on-going contamination of groundwater; d) reducing environmental disamenities for neighbors of existing disposal sites that would be closed; e) facilitating the separation of recyclable material; and f) reducing greenhouse gas emissions through an Emission Reductions Purchase Agreement with the PCF.

The contribution from the PCF has made it possible to install a state-of-the-art system—which would allow for the maximum collection of generated methane—that would not otherwise be affordable. This system would help to lower greenhouse gas emissions in two ways. First, it mitigates the methane emitted by decaying waste; and, second, it substitutes landfill gas—which will be used to generate electricity—for fossil fuels. Over a 20 year lifetime, the project will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by almost a million tons of carbon dioxide.

This project is covered by one of the first Joint Implementation activities under the Kyoto Protocol, and has allowed Latvia to take full advantage of the opportunities emerging from the nascent carbon market. Perhaps, of most immediate benefit to the environmental quality of life for people in the area, 22 of 26 existing obsolete dump sites have been closed under the project, with the other four to be closed in 2004.

Project Photo 2
A. Remediation. All existing disposal sites will be remediated and subsequently closed. At the Skede site, which has been in operation for nearly 40 years, the landfill gas will be collected and used for electricity generation.

B. Technical and Operational Improvements. A state-of-the-art solid waste management system, which would meet international sanitary landfill standards will be established. It will include preparation of the new disposal site in accordance with European Union requirements, establishment of a line for reception of waste already separated at the household level and distinct areas for the storage of separated material as well as hazardous waste, which will be transported to another site.

C. Installation of Energy Cells and a Landfill Gas Collection System. Energy cells will be installed for the enhanced degradation of easily biodegradable waste and the accelerated production of landfill gas, containing about 50% methane. The resulting greenhouse gas emission reductions have been partly sold to the PCF under an Emission Reductions Purchase Agreement. Emission reductions will be carefully monitored and subject to periodic verification by a third party.

D. Installation of a Power Generator. An energy conversion unit (gas engine) of about one megawatt capacity which runs on landfill gas will be installed at Grobina, and one of about 0.3 megawatt will be installed at Skede. Both units will be connected to the power grid.

E. Establishment of Waste Collection Points. A system of waste collection points (for areas with small waste volumes) will be established to ensure the efficient transport of waste to the regional disposal site. The collection points will be equipped with separate containers for different types of recyclable materials.

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