x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Landfill site hit by another blaze

A fire at a Dubai landfill may have been caused by untreated chemicals mixing, an official said.

A fire burns on the landfill at the Jebel Ali Waste Management Complex.
A fire burns on the landfill at the Jebel Ali Waste Management Complex.

DUBAI // A fire broke out at the Jebel Ali Hazardous Waste Treatment Facility yesterday, the second blaze to erupt at he landfill site in two months.

A witness saw two fire engines enter the site, which is near Emirates Road, and thick smoke could be seen from Sheikh Zayed Road during the afternoon.

Municipal officials said the fire might have been caused by an untreated chemical that mixed with treated chemicals on a drying bed.

"A fresh chemical could have come in and caught fire," said Abdulmajeed Saifaie, director of the Waste Management Department.

"Some chemicals get discharged to the bed by suppliers. The temperatures are also high."

Hazardous chemicals are treated on isolated or drying beds before being disposed of in the landfill. Mr Saifaie said the drying beds were structurally similar to swimming pools and there was little opportunity for the fire to spread. "There is no way of spreading. It usually gets put out on its own," he added.

The fire began after 3pm and was extinguished in less than an hour. No one was allowed to enter the treatment plant as firefighters battled the blaze.

Last month's fire took two days to be extinguished.

The waste management chief said sludge had overflowed from the difficult-waste section into another part of the landfill, causing it to ignite. Usually, sludge from sewage treatment plants is treated and dumped into the difficult-waste section.

"It has to be buried immediately but they left it over the weekend," he said, adding that the company responsible in last month's incident had been warned.

The Jebel Ali Hazardous Waste Treatment Facility, which opened in 1998, is used to dump and treat hazardous and difficult waste, like paint cans, and general waste.

Last year it handled about 156,000 tonnes of hazardous material, including medical and industrial material.