What is a Geological Repository?

  • On : October 25, 2019

Governments across the globe are looking for alternative solutions to surface landfills. Storage of hazardous waste is an important undertaking that makes an impact on the surrounding environment, so it is our responsibility to make sure that hazardous waste is stored and isolated safely and responsibly. One of the best new alternatives to surface landfills is a geological repository.

What do they do?

Geological repositories are facilities that can offer longer storage, treatment, recovery and permanent isolation of equipment and hazardous waste services. These facilities are considered to have the ability to contain hazardous wastes over a long period of geological time, up to hundreds of thousands or even millions of years. Waste should be seen as a future valuable resource for future generations to find responsible uses for it. While we may not have a value for hazardous waste at this point in time, we want to create the opportunity for future generations that may have the technology to re-enter the waste into the circular economy.

How do they do work?

The geological repositories can maintain these wastes through a combination of carefully selected active (man-made engineered barriers) and passive control (natural, geological barriers) measures. This is a multi-barrier system, which helps to contain a high level of hazardous and chemical waste materials. Tellus uses both selected active and passive control measures to keep everything managed. The reason for combining these measures is that if the engineered barriers fail at some point over geological time, the natural barriers will keep the materials safe. The great benefit of a passive control system is that it doesn’t need to be constantly monitored, because it consists of a carefully selected site and host rock that is the fundamental property of geological waste repositories.

The Benefits of a Tellus Geological Repository

Australia produces about 6 million tonnes of hazardous waste each year, so it’s important to us that we provide a safe and responsible way to store this waste so that it stays out of surface landfills. While Australia continues to be one of the largest emitters of hazardous waste per capita, we are striving to create future opportunities for our current waste materials. Tellus has two major geological repositories, the Sandy Ridge ClayVault and the Chandler SaltVault. Each of these repositories provide low liability, low maintenance and safe geological storage. Once we receive materials for storage, we store them in a “like with like” fashion that allows for a secondary recovery mines of tomorrow. With our efforts, we hope to create a safer, more eco-friendly environment for the future.