One of the most important projects for recycling and reusing solid waste for energy purposes is slated to be canceled or significantly delayed, after a court yesterday terminated a contract to build a large waste-treatment facility. The court further ordered that a tender be issued for the construction of this facility.

The Dan Cities' Association - which manages the complex, including the former Hiriya landfill near Tel Aviv - agreed with cement company Nesher last year that a large treatment facility would be established on the site for the production of refuse-derived fuel. The site was slated to handle 50 percent of the solid waste produced in the central region.

A significant portion of waste would be delivered to Nesher-operated furnaces in Ramle for use as fuel in cement production. Nesher representatives said the company had to be involved in every stage of the process to prevent any harm to its machinery.

Chen Hamakom, a waste-treatment and collection firm, subsequently filed a complaint to Tel Aviv District Court in response to that agreement. Erez Tikolsker, the attorney who filed the complaint, said the RDF facility must not be set up without a tender process.

The complaint stated that a tender must be offered for the new facility, and that Chen Hamakom is one of several companies capable of building the plant in question.

According to yesterday's ruling, if the cities' association wishes to create an RDF facility, it must first hold a public tender.

The judge rejected the association's claim that Nesher is the "sole supplier" of the services in question, and that a tender is therefore not required by law.

A spokesperson for the cities' association said yesterday, "The association accepts the ruling and will study its contents along with our legal advisers. The RDF project was planned to treat 1,500 tons of waste a day... This ruling is likely to put the project's completion into question, as well as the environmentally friendly vision of recycling waste for residents of the central region."