About 100,000 tons of waste, equal to ten months' production, all at once due to the flood: how long will it take to clean up the areas of Romagna affected by the environmental disaster? About two weeks for cleaning and clearing garbage from city streets — says al Courier Andrea Ramonda, managing director of Hera Ambiente, the subsidiary that manages all waste treatment — then in a month and a half we free up the initial storage areas. It will take 4-6 months to dispose of the total amount of waste: we are talking about 100,000 tons of waste, which is equivalent to ten months' collection in those areas. The situation is moving towards normality as street cleaning in the Bolognese municipalities, but more difficult in the province of Ravenna, Faenza-Forl where some municipalities are still under water.
The Task Force
The Hera task force in the field 24 hours a day made up of a thousand people and over 250 vehicles including dewatering pumps, vacuum trucks, motor pumps and waste collection vehicles. Right now - explains Ramonda - we are restoring the streets and cleaning up the bulky waste left by citizens. In these areas there are many detached houses with the rumpus room which contained a lot of furniture. As for washing machine refrigerators, we will send them to the WEEE recovery consortium. According to the priorities agreed with the Civil Protection, Hera has activated collection for these types of waste: bulky (furniture, beds, desks, etc.), WEEE (for example refrigerators, PCs, ovens, televisions, etc.) other non-differentiable waste. As far as possible, Hera asks for the types of waste to be separated (also keeping gas cylinders and objects containing batteries apart, to prevent the risk of explosion and fire) and to be displayed on public land, in places accessible by large vehicles ( not under trees, porches or overhead cables, not leaning against fences, not in front of meters). Once collected house by house, the waste is taken to the places identified by the Municipalities as temporary deposits, used only by the vehicles of Hera and its specialized suppliers. From these temporary storage places, the waste is then taken to the plants with a frequency proportional to the disposal and recovery capacity.
The storage areas
There are around 60 areas identified by the municipalities for initial storage. Then - Ramonda explains again - we transfer them to 4-5 areas identified as second storage (free yards that we have equipped) which are fenced off. Our garbage disposal machines are already in place. Over time, we will reduce the volume in order to then be able to transfer the remains of the waste to landfills or waste-to-energy plants. I must also say that we are receiving a lot of collaboration from other multi-utility companies and also from private companies in the sector.
Conselice, alert drops to yellow
Almost two weeks after the flooding of more than twenty rivers that submerged half of Romagna, the emergency is falling and the situation is slowly returning to normal. Even in Conselice, the town where the health emergency had started in recent days mainly due to the fact that for days it was not possible to free the streets of water, the solution is improving visibly thanks also to the use of dewatering pumps that are conveying the water into the various reclamation canals. On Monday 29 May, the hydrogeological alert code changes from orange to yellow, after the red alert ended yesterday evening.
Mattarella arrives on Tuesday
In the meantime, expectations are growing for the visit of the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella scheduled for Tuesday 30 May. According to the first information of a program still to be defined, he should move between Cesena, Forl (where he could meet a group of volunteers), Faenza (where he should see the mayors). Also planned is a helicopter transfer to Modigliana, in the Forlì area, to personally understand the devastation caused by the landslides in the Apennines.