Landfill fix will take 5 years, cost $100 million-plus

“Professional fees” an additional $4M



A solution to Cayman’s landfill problems will likely cost in excess of $100 million and won’t be completed until 2019 at the earliest, according to a Strategic Outline Case produced by government. 

It suggests the country’s landfill sites have reached a “critical point” with the George Town dump likely to be at “maximum capacity” within seven years, while the Brac site will have reached capacity by next year. 

The report points out that any plan to bring much-needed new landfill facilities to the Cayman Islands will have to involve a public private partnership – something that would likely require new revenue streams to cover the costs.  

It suggests the eventual policy will see a “significant change” in how solid waste is managed, with the onus on residents to contribute to the cost of disposing their waste. 

It calls for a public education campaign, warning there is a “risk that residents will resist bearing the costs for proper management of their wastes”. 

The report, prepared by government’s waste management steering committee and released to the public on Friday, summarizes environmental and capacity concerns at all three landfill sites. 

It recommends that plans for new facilities should be produced alongside a comprehensive national solid waste management strategy, encompassing all three islands and embracing recycling and waste-to-energy technology.  

A tentative timeline in the document, the first step in a lengthy study and procurement process, suggests that a contract to build new facilities could be awarded by 2016, with a view to completion and the start of an “operations concession” by 2019. 

It points out that borrowing constraints mean the project will have to be financed through a partnership with a private company. The new site would, therefore, have to generate sufficient revenue to make it worthwhile for a prospective partner. 

“The Cayman Islands government cannot utilise conventional borrowing methods to fund the implementation. If sufficient revenue streams cannot be identified, and an effective cost recovery mechanism established, the project will not be achievable,” the report states. 

The financial viability of the project will be hammered out in an outline business case which will examine “future and existing revenue streams.” That document will help inform the scope of a request for proposals for private firms to partner with the government on the project. 

Before that takes place, an over-arching National Solid Waste Management Strategy is planned – something the report suggests will inform the rest of the process and create a nationally agreed framework that is immune to political change. 

“It is unlikely that full implementation of a solid waste management system will occur prior to the next elections in May 2017. Development of a solid waste strategy will encourage continuity through successive governments who will be guided by the strategy to achieve the established goals.” 

The outline case does not commit to any concrete options at this stage beyond stipulating that “there will be no investigation of alternative landfill sites” for Grand Cayman. 

“The review of the options is broad at this stage as this will be informed by the outcome of the strategy which is to be developed as the first part of this project,” it states. 

The exact cost will not be clear until the full scope of the project is decided, but the report suggests it will be at least $100 million. It recommends that $2 million be set aside in the next two budgets to fund the various “professional fees” associated with producing the reports, also including environmental impact assessments on all three current landfill sites. 

Health Minister Osbourne Bodden, who is leading the process, said, “The Strategic Outline Case is a key step towards the development of a solid waste strategy that will comprehensively and sensitively manage waste in the Cayman Islands for the next 50 years.” He said extensive public consultation was built into the process and people would have the opportunity to contribute. 



  1. I would take a different approach than having the government pay for this. Homeowners are the beneficiaries of garbage removal and it should be their duty to pay for it. I would assess the total number of apartments, houses and living spaces on island and do a special assessment to all owners whereby you can make a difference in luxury homes and family homes. I would believe that everybody would be happy to participate in making this island cleaner.

  2. It might take 5 years, 10 years or 20. But it will not happen until you start doing it. Otherwise everything which is unlikely to occur before next elections isn’t worth doing.

  3. Everyone is tired of this BS. The report suggests, points out, something that would likely require, it calls for education, suggests that eventual policy, have to generate, should be produced, could be awarded, suggests this, suggests that, cannot utilize. It is unlikely, will examine, will help inform, will encourage, is to be developed, review of the options, here will be on investigation cost will not be clear…
    Do you see what is going on here? The island is the size of a Texas ranch with the population under 60,000. One who doesn’t know that might assume they are talking about exploration of the Moon as a potential site for the local garbage.

  4. Isn’t this is the steering committee the MSR. Bodden put in place to come up with a solution to the dump, when he said during his campaign that he already had solutions to deal with the dump in place. Now they also say that alternative sites will be investigated, I assume the BT site will be a part of this investigation, but maybe not since it is his home district and his whole campaign was based on keeping Bodden Town dump free. They say it will cost more than 100 Million Dollars to complete, when they said they had solutions that wouldn’t cost the people anything. And wow nothing until 2019 and after the next election. Aren’t these all solutions we already knew were needed, so what is it this committee is being paid to do? And why is it that the Dart deal was so bad, oh yeah, to keep Bodden Town Dump fee even if it costs the nation 100 Million Dollars and 7 more years of dumping garbage on top of the huge eye sore in George Town.

  5. Garbage is constant part of life, but dealing with it has serious costs. The real sensible thought is to do a co-generation plant, rather than just filling land, fill, then to another. The ‘Arthur kill’ landfill over an immense are, actually got to 7 floors high, before it was closed. A methane recovery plant was installed (private co) the methane went into the natural gas supply for a gas co. (New York City)
    Staten Island.

  6. There is a story about an elderly english earl, who asked his gardener to plant lines of trees along both sides of his driveway.
    The gardener warned him that they would not reach maturity for at least a hundred years, and it would only be his grandchildren who would start to see the benefit.
    The earl replied what better reason to get started right away.
    There are many things which can be done right now that will have a positive effect on WHATEVER solutions are selected.
    Europe has had a policy on reduced and more homogeneous (made of same or similar materials = much more recyclable) packaging for decades.
    Cayman would see benefit from a similar strategy – especially in conjunction with increased emphasis on recycling.
    What I’m talking about is e.g. buying breakfast cereal in single bag vs. a cardboard box with the bag inside – much less for the landfill. That is truly something that is within the remit of a Government and it could reward good behaviour – buy products in ‘minimalist’ packaging and you pay no ‘landfill fee’ buying the same thing with 8 layers of plastic, paper, foil and stickers – you’d pay more.
    The recycle bins at the supermarkets always seem full … so more and bigger ones would help.
    Do the bars get separate dumpsters for glass waste …

  7. Everyone that fought so diligently against the offer from Dart that by the way was worth over 60 Million dollars needs to sit back now and think twice about the people that they voted into office based on the promise of keeping Bodden Town Dump Free and that they would find a solution to fix the GT Dump in place. Now it seems that even after spending over 100 Million Dollars we will still need to build a new a new waste management facility at a different location something our leaders said would not be necessary. Yet after all their vacations to the US to view other modern waste management facilities and investing into committees of so called professionals they have to admit this will be needed. The problem they have created for themselves is that no matter what district they decide it needs to go there will be people screaming keep West Bay Dump Free, Keep East End Dump free and so and so on. They thumbed their nose at an offer that would have saved the country millions and now they’re scrambling for answers. No company is going to come to Cayman and spend 100 Million dollars to fix Cayman garbage issues without a promise of huge household fees and CUC type monopoly that will last for decades, how many of you like the way this sounds. If we took Darts offer we could have given them responsibility for dealing with the GT dump site and we would have had a fresh start to get it right. And you all know Dart would have made some beautiful out of that site because it was in his best interest to do so.

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