No landfill for Bodden Town

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Although the Dart group of companies has not commented on the project since the 22 May Cayman Islands general election, Cabinet ministers signalled in their first press briefing Tuesday that a landfill development project planned for Midland Acres would not be happening. It may have something to do with the fact that new Minister of Health, Osbourne Bodden, hails from the district where the project was going to be constructed.  

“We’re going to sit and talk to all the stakeholders … but I can say it’s not going in Bodden Town,” Mr. Bodden said.  

The ruling People’s Progressive Movement government, along with a number of independent candidates, campaigned on the promise of killing the Midland Acres landfill project during the recently-completed campaign, so Mr. Bodden’s position comes as no surprise. 

“We would welcome the chance to understand more about the new government’s wishes for waste management, and look forward to further details on their strategic plans,” said Mark VanDevelde, chief executive officer of Dart Enterprises. 

Cayman Islands Premier Alden McLaughlin, when asked if the new government had any communication with the Dart group of 
companies, said: “I’ve had no official communication.”  

Minister Bodden, whose remit will be health, youth, sports and culture, said the landfill issue would be a “major priority” during the new government’s administration.  

“Under the last PPM administration, we had a number of solutions to the problem and all pointed to on-site remediation, recycling and waste-to-energy and all that,” he said.  

Under previous governments, responsibility for landfills in the Cayman Islands has come under the remit of the Ministry of Works, but Mr. McLaughlin, who announced his new Cabinet ministers Tuesday, said waste management issues would be dealt with by Mr. Bodden in his capacity as health minister. 

In 2007, the government commissioned solid waste consultants Gersham, Brickner and Bratton Inc. to come up with a development plan for a waste-to-energy facility at the George Town landfill site. The consultants concluded there was not enough available land at the site to accommodate a waste-to-energy plant, a new lined landfill for non-burnable waste and waste reduction and mining facilities. The consultants estimated that mining the waste would take about 20 years to complete.  

The company also reported that building a waste-to-energy facility at the so-called “Mount Trashmore” in George Town would cost $100 million, along with annual funding of $18 million to $23 million, while producing $6.5 million worth of electricity per year.  

An earlier report by Post, Buckley, Schuh & Jernigan, Inc. in 2000 analysed alternative systems of waste management based on the assumption that the dump would reach capacity in 2002 and be closed. That report eliminated shipping waste off-island as an alternative, because of objections from the US Department of Agriculture. It also considered composting, waste to energy, landfill and combinations of these and concluded that, irrespective of what waste reduction technologies were adopted, a landfill at an engineered facility would be required in a new and relatively remote location. 

Martin Edelenbos, engineering coordinator of waste management for Dart Realty, previously explained some of the challenges the company faces with the site. “The waste mound at George Town landfill is now about 80 feet high, it is mostly uncovered, there is no liner beneath the waste, no leachate collection or treatment, no storm water management and no landfill gas management,” he said.  

Dart Realty last year met with Waste Management, the company that owns Wheelabrator Technologies Inc., which won an initial waste management tender bid, to discuss Dart’s proposals. The company approved of the plan to have a dump on a different site than the existing one.  

Waste Management acknowledged that the limited space at the George Town site could be used as a waste-to-energy facility, but cautioned, “such facilities generate residue requiring disposal, and not all wastes can be processed through a waste-to-energy facility. Therefore, either the George Town site would need to be expanded or a new site developed to accept the waste-to-energy bypass and residue.”  

The company, in a letter to Dart, said it “would not recommend mining and subsequently processing previously landfilled waste in order to gain future capacity” at the George Town site.  

 

Caymanian Compass journalist Norma Connolly contributed to this report. 

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A map of the proposed landfill site. – Photo: Brent Fuller

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The landfill in George Town keeps getting bigger. – PHOTO: FILE
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35 COMMENTS

  1. How can any politician keep a straight face and say keeping the dump in George Town is in the best interest of the country? Has Minister Bodden actually read the facts of this article before making his decision? Is he really acting in the country’s best interest, or protecting his constituents in Bodden Town to everyone else’s detriment.

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  2. Liberalkman seems that you are all for development and progress for these islands without any consequences to our environment and people’s property values. Remember Dart invested in properties a round the current dump site. We the people in Bodden town did not. Why should our children live and play near a dump? Why is Dart any different from us?

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  3. I cannot believe the lack of public information that has been put forward on this subject. The fact that it is still referred to as a dump is evidence enough. In my home town we had a waste management facility and there everything was recycled… from cell phones to fluorescent bulbs to Styrofoam to appliances to glass to wood to ceramics to yard waste and so on. It was not a dirty, smelly dump, it was a clean facility and free to use. Everything was sorted properly by hmmm lets say non-violent offenders at the prison and containers shipped out full of cardboard, steel, batteries, glass etc… All of these items have value. All of the yard waste was used to make clean rich soil or put into the landfill gas site to produce gas which powered 1.4MW generators, which even further subsidized the operation. I wouldn’t want a dump in my backyard either but a waste management facility, OK. They make it sound like it will be sitting beside the school in Bodden Town but really it’s out in a very rural area well suited for it. If we did it right and used solar as well it could be a flagship facility for all other Islands to admire and something we could be proud to have as proof that change is possible. Change is the only way anything will ever happen.

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  4. The Dump as it is, will bring an end to Grand Cayman tourism, just wait and see. Wait for the big one, like Ivan, when it will be shifted to North Sound and turn Cayman shores to toxic chemical soup. Meantime, The Dump is poisoning peoples bodies on land. It might be invisible, but years of breathing the air (stench)from The Dump, even when just passing by in a car, let alone living next to it or working on it, is silently paving its way to cancer. Environmental crime is being committed here.

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  5. I have said it before use Airburners made in Florida with a generator to deal with most daily waste produced on island it is inexpensive. Aruba is doing it as well as many other dutch islands.
    Furthermore it is used at most US and British military bases. It is not a total solution I realize but a good start and if done properly by me then it would work because I have all the pieces to the puzzle.

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  6. The entire dump issue offends me. The denial many politicians hold on to that the GT dump can remain as is is a ticking timebomb.
    Where is the push for mandatory recycling? Glass, paper, plastic and aluminum recycling is basic to developed countries in the world.
    With such a limited land area I would think recycling to be a no brainer in Cayman. Where is the leadership?

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  7. The existing dump is an eyesore, an environmental hazard, a deterrent to tourism and a danger to the health of Caymanians. You get that sort of dump in third-world countries, but for the Caribbean’s foremost jurisdiction, it is a just a shame. One that should have been remedied 20 years ago. Since it has not, it should be removed and replaced by a 21st century waste management facility like the one desribed by Wirepuller as quickly as possible now. No matter where!
    I cannot believe the political bickering that is going on here. It seems that the votes Mr. Bodden got in his town are worth more to the current government than the well-being of the entire Island. I myself wouldn’t mind a clean, modern waste management facility in my back yard. It also creates jobs not only during construction, but during operations as well. However, under the circumstances described, I am afraid it will be at least another ten years for Mount Trashmore to disappear…

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  8. Fredsanford, I see your idea of a WTE solution mentioned a lot in your posts will you be putting together a proposal for the next round of tender negotiations ? Have you approached already or will you be approaching the new leadership with your offer ? Curious what their response is..

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  9. Liberalkman, this should come as no surprise to you. Politicians are highly skilled at lying with a straight face. Most of these guys know that they are only in office in a huge part because of their opposition to putting a new ‘Waste Management Facility’ in BoddenTown, so yes I am quite sure they are protecting their constituent in BT not to mention this one lives there. The constant reference to it being a Dump and creating the impression that the garbage in GT would be moved there was all to soil people’s feelings against it. It would be great if they find a way to fix Caymans Garbage issues on site in GT because as I’m sure everyone agrees it would be the best option if it can be done. But the worst thing that can happen is nothing gets done and it just keeps growing into an environmental disaster that has ill effects on everyone in Cayman and contrary what they may believe the people in Boddentown will not be immune to these effects. I myself truly hope something is done with MT Trashmore. Hey, maybe the UK will say OK when Alden asks them for their approval to borrow more money and they’ll add another 100 Million dollars on top of Caymans existing debt to do it or they may actually find someone who will fix this on site in GT at no cost to Cayman.

    I may also hit the lottery next week..

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  10. @nj2cay
    Perhaps I will submit something. but for the most part a lot of them already know from my old posts and generally running my mouth. I am tired of spinning my wheels. For the most part one of the people in power would just have to contact me and we sit down to discuss it. That said I sent detailed info to the Anti Dump People and watched the email chain.

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  11. Do we really think this is going to take place without us getting sued for a bridge of contract. Well let us wait and see.
    Straight talking, it is utterly stupid of anyone not to agree moving the trash more dump from George Town is a good idea. Yet we all know that the PPM government use it to obtain votes. I am very disappointed in the C4C and the independent not to see this and realize that where this Mt. Trashmore is can be seen from cruise ships. Now that the PPM government has gotten in on the back of this Trash, I would like to see what they are going to do about it. I am positive that they are going to catch Hell early by not dealing with it. Brushing it under the bed is not going to work. So we are back to square one, should I say that election is only four years away.

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  12. It is a no brainer for Bodden Town politicians to run on a platform of NO Dump in BT. It was political suicide for Mark when he indicated the fomer Govt was considering a waste management proposal from Dart.
    Unfortunately, it will mean that nothing gets done for anothetr 4 years.

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  13. It seems to me that this is a 2 part problem.

    First the current dump is a disaster. Regardless of where the new dump will be this has to be fixed.

    Second we cannot repeat the problems of the past. The dump has to be handled professionally.

    The third part is the controversial part the where. If it is a true waste management facility then I dont have a problem moving it elsewhere. A big problem is that Bodden Towners dont trust the politicians when they say we dont have the same old dump.

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  14. I am awear of people asking to remove all the plastic bottles from the dump to send off Island for recycling and was refused and this was at no coast to the goverment.

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  15. Lady in Red, can we have more details of the people that offered to remove all the plastic bottles from the GT dump and ship them of Island for free. Curious as to how they would do this are they currently being separated from the other trash?

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  16. you really think Ozzie worried bout Mt trashmore? Think again! He is only worried about that salary he is now getting on top of all his other income, and if leaving the dump in GT can get him a seat again in 2017 then that is what he is going to do as promising the people of BT that no dumo will move to BT is the only reason he is in office now. Just keep an eye on our dept as it will grow even more out of control in the near future. So far the people we can thank for that is Alden and Ozzie. At the end of the day with how our country is being ran, the younger generation have to stop looking at GCM as their forever home but look forward to forcefull relocation as Cayman will soon be a place only for the rich and famous.

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  17. Good afternoon Commenters,
    I have no doubt the new administration will focus on and improve the current Georgetown landfill. I believe they will work with the current Recyclers on island (they have a track record to prove the amount of waste already being removed). I hope all commenters currently use a recycler for their nonferrous metals, plastics, ewaste, and practice composting at home(if not step up and cut the arm chair quarterbacking) Furthermore the whole waaa cruise ships see the pile..Guess what ?? Trash mountains are everywhere!!
    Yours in Recycling,
    Jenn Frey
    further discussion in person on Dump rd..

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  18. You present the one report which found that there is not enough space on site but have ignored the numerous reports that have been commissioned over the years which concluded that the best location for a proper waste management facility in Grand Cayman is the present site:

    1) in an heavy industrial area
    2) yet in close proximity to the source of 90% of the island’s waste

    If more space is needed than is available on the current site, a very obvious and uncomplicated remedy would be for the Government to purchase the additional land.

    Whether the waste management facility remains on site or is moved to another area – it will take the same amount of time to mine and remediate the current landfill.

    Why contaminate a currently pristine area with all the island’s future waste? The proposed location in BT is right on the edge of the Central Mangrove Wetlands – the largest inland mangrove wetland in the region.

    Yes quarrying has been done in the area, however there would be nothing chemical leaching in to the environment from that.

    I am a former resident and have been following this issue closely over the years.

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  19. Great news.

    Now what about West Bay Road.

    A section was allowed to be closed just before the election and before the new section of ETH was finished. Dangerous road works, with lanes closed without prior warning for drivers, happen every day as a result. Was the closure rushed through before a change of Government?

    Also, the link from the new ETH to West Bay Road at Raleigh Quay has deen closed for weeks now. As I understood it no permission was granted for this closure.

    It seems Dart is in charge, and not our Road Authority. I trust that the new Goverment will quickly remedy this.

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  20. Sounds like RW has the answer, the only question left would be who’s going to pay for it ? Maybe if Alden comes back from the UK with approval to do more borrowing it can be done that way or I believe everyone says that Wheelabrator was going to do it for free. On any account I guess that with all the realistically available options it should be happening really soon..

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  21. I thought that the previous Government tender specification was that the selected private firm would entirely finance the new facility and remediation – in exchange for the garbage fee, all revenue the facility generated and other concessions.

    Meaning that it would not cost the Government anything other than the forfeit of the garbage fee.

    Correct me if I am wrong.

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  22. RW: maybe you’re right, but what would the garbage fee be increased to in order to cover the costs? Would have to be hundreds more than the 50 bucks most people don’t pay anyhow. No cost to Government, but certainly a cost to the country…..

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  23. LBK,

    Assuming the garbage fee is only 50 per household, I would be happy to pay quite a bit more (times 3 or 4) for a proper waste management and recycling system.

    We can no longer afford to externalise the true costs of our consumption on the natural environment and Government without making an adequate contribution towards the actual cost.

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  24. Let say for example they spend 100 Million dollars building the site and collect a 100 Monthly from 10000 households. That would bring in 12 Million dollars a year less the cost of running it which I believe was estimated to be about 18 Million dollars a year, so the fee would need to be nearly twice that for them to break even and I am sure they would expect a profit. I am not sure how many people would be happy with a 200 monthly garbage fee. And how much luck would an outside company have collecting Garbage fees that the government can’t even collect now…

    It would just turn into another uncontrollable monopoly just like CUC, with ever increasing fees..

    The one clear advantage to the Dart BT thing would be that the facility would be built and owned outright by Cayman with no out of pocket cost and whatever profit made from recycling and Garbage fees would go into the government’s budget. And do not forget that millions it would cost to remediate and manage the GT dump would be Dart responsibility now. While I can understand the feelings the BT folks have, it is going to be kind of hard to get a better deal.

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  25. NJ2Cay

    That would 50 to 200 per year per household, not per month

    Can someone confirm what the garbage fee now is?

    There is also revenue from electricity generation, sale of scrap metal, plastic, glass etc

    I do not know the costs of operation however around a dozen firms placed bids so there must be a feasible way to make a healthy profit out of it. Assuming these firms have the good sense to know they will not be able to increase their garbage fee by more than 200 or 300% – or there was some price control stipulation in the tender docs.

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  26. Our leaders need to clarify the difference between a modern Waste Management Facility and a traditional ‘Garbage Dump/Landfill’ while they keep in mind that the majority of their audience has NEVER seen, therefore CANNOT envision anything other than what they know…’Mt Trashmore’.
    It is a service that is long overdue and I believe that if the residents understood the facility, its operation and the convenience, along with the long term benefits, they too would approve. After all, we should not become ‘buried” in antiquated solutions.

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  27. All this talk of paying garbage fees sounds good but lets return to Cayman not from where ever you believe people will pay 300./year gargage fees happily.
    This other world view does not solve the problems here. Cayman realities must be taken into account when plans are made.
    Recycle now, not later.

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  28. RW former resident, my example was estimated with a monthly fee. A 200 yearly fee as you mentioned would only bring in 2 Million bucks a year for 10,000 households. But again I am not a waste management professional, however I don’t see how even the CIG would be able to run a WTE facility with only 2 Million in fees coming in yearly. The estimated cost just to run it was 18 Million..

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  29. I watch the amounts of garbage that go into the landfill EVERYDAY. Great portion of it is landscaping waste. A start is a compost/mulching system.
    RW residential houses are exempt from garbage fees all others pay. There is no tipping fee( fee on materials carried in by homes or businesses directly to land fill).

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  30. @Jackson,
    So what is your proposal for our garbage, keep dumping it in GT? I think you sound rather foolish preaching about environmental concerns when the GT landfill has no environmental protections in place. Currently there are tons of leachate pouring into the North Sound everyday, and it is impossible to properly remediate the site while 350 tons of garbage are being dumped there daily. Did you bother to read the article above before commenting? Don’t you see the interested parties telling you its not feasible to dump in GT and new facilities need to be constructed elsewhere?
    Is someone going to magically lift the 80ft tall mountain of trash and put a proper lining underneath it? Are the people of Bodden Town immune to the environmental damage to the North Sound? Don’t they contribute to the problem as much as anyone else does?
    Bodden Towners know full well that a new site is needed but they suffer from a severe case of NIMBYism. Not In My Back Yard. George Towners have suffered the burden of Mt. Trashmore for far too long, it is an environmental disaster and an embarrassment to our country.
    I would gladly have them build a new site in GT if it meant they could remediate the existing site, especially if the facility is well run and managed the way Dart is proposing to do it FOR FREE. The problem is, 3 studies over the last 10 years indicated the BT area as the most feasible. I didn’t write it, but think of the logic. Its centrally located in a rural area. Do we want 100 people to be minimally affected by a new proper facility, or 10,000 people hugely affected by the disaster that is there now?
    @ NJ2Cay, I always enjoy your posts 🙂

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  31. What else is he protecting; his seat first and foremost! The various reports at hand will collect dust like so many other costly ones, piled up somewhere in a basement! We will unforunately see the same old again and again, not enough independent Members as yet. It will be interesting to see how the next election plays out……..!

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  32. Nice to see this carried on another day.. I love the passion.
    #1 Get a compost bin and use it! egg shells banana peel cardboard from your cereal boxes.
    #2 give your glass bottles at Camana Bay. (both supporters and non supporters of Dart )
    #3 Drop your aluminum cans on Dump road(metal recycler)
    #4 Plastic collection is at the supermarket.
    #5 Your homes could have little to no garbage pick up each week.
    #6 Take action and stop depending on Govt. to clean up after you..
    #7 eww and stop with the foam plates…
    #8 Tell your favorite bar to recycle its glass and cans..
    I will now return to my soapbox on Dump rd.
    good day!

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  33. The Georgetown landfill must be fixed. We can all agree on that.
    A good start would be to bring your recycle material to the drop off on dump road. That said less than 1 ton was dropped off yesterday pretty shameful for an island of so many.

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