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Khoury Contracting Company’s Volvo EC380D excavator and A35C articulated hauler clear the access roads to the Bourj Hammoud Landfill. Go to photo
Khoury Contracting Company’s Volvo EC380D excavator and A35C articulated hauler clear the access roads to the Bourj Hammoud Landfill.

Down in the dumps!

A fleet of Volvo machines is busy removing an existing waste dump and constructing a new sanitary landfill in Lebanon.

Lebanon has made headlines in recent years – not for its sun-kissed seashores, but rather, for the huge mountain of rubbish that occupies the shores of the coastal town of Bourj Hammoud. 

Located northeast of Beirut on the edge of the Mediterranean, Bourj Hammoud is home to 150,000 residents within 2.5 square kilometers (one mile), making it one of the most densely populated districts in the Middle East. The town is also home to a 47-meter (154 ft) ‘rubbish mountain’ that has lain dormant in the local landfill for 27 years. 

In 2016, the Lebanese government announced the reopening of the Bourj Hammoud Landfill. A tender was held that required the winner to remove the mountain of rubbish and replace it with a new, sanitary landfill. When fully completed in August 2020, the $100-million project will contain 1.6 million tonnes of waste. 

Aerial view of the access road, breakwater, reclamation area, sanitary cells and dump.

TALKING TRASH

Working for the Council for Development and Reconstruction (CDR) is Khoury Contracting Company (KCC). Established in 1987, the company specializes in marine and municipal work, as well as heavy civil engineering. Its portfolio consists of several high-profile projects, including the construction of the Boqaata dam in Lebanon, which acts as Mount Lebanon’s largest water source, containing seven million cubic meters (1.8 billion gal) of water.

“Our history of working on large projects provides us with the experience and confidence to complete the Bourj Hammoud Landfill,” says Toufic Kazmouz, project manager at KCC. “We have the right team and equipment – both of which are essential to ensure the success of the project.” 

Having the right equipment is necessary for a project that has already proven challenging. For example, the existing landfill lacked access roads, so KCC constructed three access roads, each one kilometer (0.6 mi) in length. Rainfall causes mud to form on the unpaved, narrow roads. “Given the severe conditions, articulated haulers are ideal for transporting the trash dump over the uneven, muddy roads, which contain high levels of acidity,” Kazmouz explains.

Over 200 KCC employees are working at the landfill site, alongside 39 machines from Volvo Construction Equipment. The equipment was supplied by local Volvo CE dealership AMTRAC and includes EC460B, EC380D, EC350D, EC360B and EC290B excavators, A35C, A35D A40 and A40D articulated haulers, L180E and L220E wheel loaders and SD110 soil compactors.

Three Volvo excavators load articulated haulers with waste, while above, another works to maintains the slope to prevent an avalanche of waste spilling on the machines below.

MOVING MOUNTAINS

Working to complete phase one is a fleet of Volvo excavators and articulated haulers, excavating 3.5 million cubic meters of waste (4.5 million yd3) from the existing site. The waste extracted by Volvo excavators from the dump will be sorted and later, hauled and backfilled in a reclaimed area of 340,000 square meters (406,000 yd2) using Volvo articulated haulers. The reclaimed areas will be protected by a breakwater.

Some of the excavators used during the initial phase will subsequently be used to build the breakwater wall, designed to create a strong shield from the waves. Three million cubic meters (3.9 million yd3) of rock fill material will be used for its construction, as well as 200,000 cubic meters (261,000 yd3) of concrete for the face of the breakwater. The construction will enable KCC to safely operate the new sanitary landfill over 30 months. The new sanitary landfill consists of eight cells, each constructed by KCC’s Volvo wheel loaders. Volvo excavators and articulated haulers will lay two million square meters (2.3 million yd2) of liner system – a geomembrane isolating material – that will contain the solid waste transported from existing treatment centers in Beirut.

“Volvo’s low fuel consumption is unbeatable,” says Simon Azar, plant machine and vehicle manager at KCC. “Compared to competitor brands, the Volvo excavators consume less fuel, and ensure fast cycle times and high productivity.”

Supplied with a service contract delivered by AMTRAC, the Volvo machines are working at optimum levels for 14 hours a day, seven days a week. “AMTRAC has played a significant part in ensuring the uptime of our machines,” says Azar. “The maintenance team and the high availability of parts are just a couple of the many factors that contribute to our long relationship with the dealership.”

The combination of a strong team, durable equipment, and dealer support paves the road for the successful completion of the Bourj Hammoud Landfill. “When complete, the landfill will safely contain freshly sorted solid waste – preventing any contamination of the sea or streets,” says Kazmouz. It is a dirty job, but someone has to do it. Luckily, for the residents of Bourj Hammoud, KCC is not down in the dumps about helping Lebanon clean up.

Volvo excavators extract the waste from the existing dump and load the material onto articulated haulers.

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