The public has three weeks to respond to the findings of a draft environmental impact study into the proposed new dump in Bodden Town.
The government this week made public an environmental study into the proposed waste management site in Midland Acres in Bodden Town. Two public open houses and presentations will be held next week in Bodden Town and George Town to present the study and offer the public a chance to give feedback.
The deadline for comment on the study is Monday, 29 April.
The draft environmental study, produced by consultants Cardno ENTRIX and paid for by Dart Realty (Cayman) Ltd. is a report of the environmental impact assessment process and, according to an advertisement posted in the local media by the government Monday, “provides a technical based evaluation of potential environmental impacts that maybe expected as a result of the proposed [waste management facility] construction and operation”.
Cardno ENTRIX has already provided the draft environmental statement to the Environmental Advisory Board for comment. Representatives from that board, Cardno and Dart Realty will present findings at the public meetings.
According to the report from consultants, there are no major environmental impacts anticipated from the construction or operation of the proposed project, apart from the potential for odour from the dump site, depending on weather conditions such as stagnant winds and low barometric pressure.
The consultants said the operations plan for the project includes measures like daily cover and landfill gas control to minimise the chances of the site emitting unpleasant smells.
The 336-page report addresses several issues about which environmental concerns have been raised, including potential for leaching into the North Sound, the impact on the mangroves and the fishery nurseries they support, impact on water quality in the area and the impact on local wildlife. The findings, based on the design and operational procedures proposed for the facility, indicate that there will be no significant impact in these areas of concern.
Part of the summary of the report reads: “Residual impacts anticipated were limited to intermittent odour issues that may occur based on weather conditions, an increase in noise levels along Bodden Town Road in proximity to the project, and minor (non-measurable) impacts from storm water discharges. In consideration of residual odour control, the phasing of landfill construction is proposed to occur in a south to north progression. This phasing of construction will decrease the potential for odour impacts over time, as the distance between active landfill cells and existing development increases.”
The report states that, as designed, the proposed basal liner at the site “will prevent leachate from coming into contact with groundwater in the vicinity of the site. The liner facilitates the collection of the leachate for conveyance to an on-site treatment and disposal system. Storm water runoff generated on-site is proposed to be collected within swales and sediment forebays prior to discharge into retention basins located along the perimeter of the project”.
It continues that an operations plan has been developed that includes “industry-standard measures to further reduce the potential for pollutants to migrate to off-site waters”.
The consultants found that from a human health perspective, the potential for the project to impact nearby potable water supplies does not exist.
The report points out that with respect to ecological resources, the proposed site is within the southeastern fringe of an 8,500-acre mangrove system, that is connected to North Sound to the west.
“Salinity measurements demonstrated that there is little hydrologic connectivity between the wetlands on the site and North Sound. Therefore, the loss of the wetlands on the site is not anticipated to have an impact on local fisheries (e.g. loss of nursery habitat). The project proposes to remove a small portion (less than 1 per cent) of the largest remaining native habitat on Grand Cayman. Therefore, it is not anticipated that the loss of habitat will result in significant issues relative to biodiversity or sustainability of wetland habitat in the region,” the report states.
It continued that the project is not anticipated to impact wildlife within the wetlands surrounding the site and that no protected wildlife had been observed at the site.
Noise pollution may arise from the waste facility, but the consultants stated that as the site is adjacent to two operating quarries, noise and vibration from those already exist for nearby residents and the dump site is not anticipated to significantly increase noise levels during construction or operation.
The assessment also did not identify that there would be significant air quality issues, for example, emissions and dust, that would affect human health.
An open house from 5pm to 9pm, with presentations starting at 7pm, will be held at the Bodden Town Civic Centre on Wednesday, 17 April, and at Elmslie Memorial United Church in George Town on Thursday, 18 April.