Landfill ready for toxic ash

The George Town landfill is finally ready to receive the arsenic-contaminated ash created from burning pressure treated wood that was part of the Hurricane Ivan debris, Minister of Works Arden McLean said last week.

‘Transportation of the ash will happen early in January,’ he said.

A special pit was dug at the landfill for the approximately 4,000 cubic yards of toxic ash.

However, delivery of the polyurethane pit liner that will keep the arsenic from leeching into ground water after rainfalls was delayed by Hurricanes Rita and Wilma.

It was originally hoped the toxic ash would be transported to the landfill by mid-summer 2005 to prevent the arsenic from possibly contaminating ground water supplies in the areas where it is stored.

One toxic ash site in Frank Sound is near Grand Cayman’s main fresh water lens.

Mr. McLean said the pit liner was installed under the guidance of a technician from the manufacturer.

Before the ash can be deposited in the pit, six inches of fine material has to be put on the bottom of the liner to protect it from rupturing.

Once all of the contaminated ash has been transported to the landfill, the manufacturer’s technician will return to the island to help seal the liner, Mr. McLean said.

Mr. McLean said the Government was now waiting for HEAVO (Heavy Equipment and Vehicle Operators Association) with regard to arrangements to transport the ash from the various locations it is now stored.

One of the debris and ash sites at Northwest Point has already been cleared because it was found not to be contaminated, Mr. McLean said.

Those uncontaminated materials are now being used as daily cover for the landfill, saving the Government considerable money.

Mr. McLean said that typically cover for the landfill could cost as much as $30 per cubic yard, but the materials they are using now only cost about $10 per cubic yard to truck to the landfill.

Mr. McLean discounted the reports of an increased foul smell coming from the landfill and drifting over the island, saying that in most cases, the smell was coming from the demucking of swamplands in the area.

The Government has received at least eight proposals for solid waste disposal, some of which were not feasible, Mr. McLean said.

One option, moving the landfill, would be very expensive.

‘This country is going to be set back a pretty penny to have to have it removed from George Town,’ Mr. McLean said.