The level of waste arising from high-voltage power transmission is limited. This waste consists of material from maintenance work or projects. All waste, apart from oil containing polychlorobiphenyls (PCBs), is collected in a dozen centres and then, after sorting, removed by a recognised collector and processor.
Contractors are contractually obliged to take with them the waste they produce during their assignment.
However, Elia also has to deal with hazardous waste as:
The transformers and some other facilities in high-voltage substations contain a lot of oil. The collection and proper processing of the waste oil is organised on the basis of a separate contract.
Polychlorobiphenyls (PCBs) are chlorinated chemical compounds. They have useful technical properties but do not biodegrade easily.
Elia still has a small number of transformers with a very low PCB content (less than 0.05%) in the form of contamination in the oil. These transformers are labelled, approved by the authorities and gradually cleaned and/or removed. Oil containing PCBs is removed in accordance with the stipulations of a separate ADR-compliant collection and processing contract.
Just as in the case of PCBs, asbestos is used in high-voltage substations because of its fire resistance.
Component material containing asbestos may be kept in service as long as it is not damaged. An asbestos inventory is available for every site. When works are being carried out, asbestos is removed in airtight packaging by recognised collectors and processors.