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Inert Waste

Inert waste

Inert waste means waste that does not undergo any significant physical, chemical or biological transformations.

Inert waste will not dissolve, burn or otherwise physically or chemically react, biodegrade or adversely affect other matter with which it comes into contact in a way likely to give rise to environmental pollution or harm to human health.

The total leachability and pollutant content of the waste and the ecotoxicity of the leachate must be insignificant, and in particular not endanger the quality of surface water and/or groundwater.

This is the WAMITAB (Waste Management Industry Training & Advisory Board) definition. Visit WAMITAB here.

Inert waste materials suitable for acceptance, include soil, sand, clay, concrete and more.
Most inert waste is produced by the extractive industries (that is quarry mining, initial treatment facilities for quarry materials, etc).
In Europe, for this a waste to be accepted as “inert waste” it must meet a large number of criteria which range from its chemical composition to its potential danger to humans and the environment. Only when a waste has passed these criteria is it considered to be inert waste. The reason for that is before these regulations were brought into force the inert waste sites which were created were found to be producing a significantly polluted leachate, most of which discharges into the environment as inert was landfills are not lined nor necessarily capped.
There are many inert waste landfills which discharge the rainfall which percolates through them into the groundwater below and around these sites, and possibly also into rivers and streams with potentially polluting materials in them such as an increased COD, some BOD, and significant ammoniacal nitrogen above background concentrations.