Latvia: Liepaja Solid Waste Management
(Prototype Carbon Fund)
3 Project Documents
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.
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.