Mackenzie Environmental was established in October of 2014 with the goal of providing quality consulting services to the landfill industry. Established by Chartered Civil Engineer James Mackenzie, the core team grew quickly to include another experienced engineer, a draftsperson/3D modeller and a part-time administrative staff member. The company has recently employed a graduate civil engineer full-time to provide onsite construction quality assurance services to meet demand for their services.
Primarily focused on providing the landfill industry with a full suite of civil and environmental engineering services, the strength of Mackenzie Environmental lies in their experience designing with geosynthetics, as well as their understanding of the risks associated with landfill gas. “We like to think that the benefit our clients receive, and the reason that they are switching to Mackenzie Environmental is that we are striving to provide industry-leading customer service and great value,” says James. “We’re trying to be a project partner with our clients.” The company is currently developing lump sum costing for services that would traditionally be offered on a time and expense basis. Such a system provides clients with a number of benefits, including increased certainty on the costs of their projects.
Wherever possible, Mackenzie Environmental searches for opportunities to reuse existing waste materials, rather than raw quarry products when developing their earthworks designs. “Rather than a raw quarry product as a drainage layer, we attempt to develop designs that can reuse products sourced close to the site, reducing haulage distances and construction costs.”
Mackenzie Environmental is currently active in over a dozen sites across Victoria and South Australia, carrying out projects such as the design of a piggyback-lined landfill cell for Surf Coast Shire’s Anglesea Landfill, which will begin construction later this year. “Piggyback lining is becoming more common as EPA are requiring sites to upgrade their lining systems and line over existing waste,” Mr Mackenzie explains. “Typically, it is a more complex design process, with a few more issues to consider in the design process than usual.”
In a short space of time, Mackenzie Environmental has succeeded in developing a steadily growing client base that includes state and local government, as well as Australia’s largest waste management companies. Mr Mackenzie has also been invited to present a paper on piggyback landfill design and construction at the WMAA’s National Landfill and Transfer Station Conference in July of this year.
James has been an active member of WMAA’s working group, Landfill Victoria, for over a decade, which James notes assists Mackenzie Environmental to stay abreast of the issues affecting their clients. Over the span of his career, Mr Mackenzie has also developed strong working relationships with several earthworks contractors, geosynthetics installers and suppliers, and various laboratories. “These strong relationships benefit our clients in a number of ways,” he says. “For example, if one of our clients asks us to provide a cost estimate for non-standard works, it’s advantageous to be able to pick up the phone and seek assistance from our network of contacts to help us assist preparing a cost estimate.”
The Victorian solid waste industry is currently facing a growing, destructive trend of waste being transported interstate to avoid the state’s EPA levies. “In Victoria, waste is subject to a levy that the EPA collects. The levy was established to encourage waste producers to recycle, reuse, or treat waste as much as possible prior to sending it to landfill,” James says. “Unfortunately for several of our clients, they are encountering lost revenues due to waste being trucked interstate as far as Queensland to avoid paying the levies.” Such practices deny revenue to both the state’s landfill owners and operators, as well as its EPA. “This issue, particularly this year, is one that the governments and industry need to try and find a solution to.”
James Mackenzie began his career with Golder Associates in 2002, as a member of their civil design group. After becoming a chartered engineer in 2007, he managed Golder’s Melbourne civil design group for 5 years, before establishing a civil engineering and waste team at Senversa, a Victoria-based contaminated land consultancy. In October 2014, after serving as Senversa’a General Manager for two years, James decided to established Mackenzie Environmental. “We’re a young company, and we’re looking to grow the business and establish ourselves in the market, which we’ve done quite successfully over the first six months,” he says. “It’s an ongoing process.”