Waste Treatment : South Korea to build new waste treatment facilities

The South Korean government is on the lookout for land to build new waste treatment plants.

These facilities are intended to treat ‘non-household and non-industrial waste’ deriving from accidents and disasters. Many of these waste by-products contain hazardous materials such as mercury and are often illegally dumped on landfills.

The drive to build these facilities follows the introduction of an act introduced in June 2021. It concerns the installing and operating of waste treatment facilities, also taking local residents into account.

The Ministry of Environment plans to build an incineration plant, a landfill as well as a recycling plant. It’s planning to release an advertisement on July 15 and will run for the following 60 days.

Municipalities interested in the land bid have to abide by certain rules-for one, they need to procure consent from a majority of residents living within a 2 km radius of the proposed facility sites. The land in question must also be free from caves, sinkholes, fissures and underground streams. The total surface area must amount to at least 200,000 square meters. The land may not include protected areas such as those typically designated for fishery resources, natural parks, forests, cultural heritage sites, freshwater habitats or military or educational sites.

Local governments chosen to operate the facilities will receive 40% of revenue, to be spent on the welfare of residents. Investors who finance construction will be eligible to receive an additional 10% of revenue. Residents living within 2 km will also receive proceeds worth 10%.

The Ministry of Environment has chosen the Korean Environment Corporation (KEC) to handle the selection process. The KEC will inspect sites and make decisions via a special committee comprised of lawmakers, experts and municipality representatives.

Plans to build these new facilities originally stem from the need for a new landfill site. A current dumping ground at Incheon, which saw the collected waste from Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi, had already been maxed out.