Waste-to-energy study advised for landfill

The possibility of using garbage fumes from the George Town Landfill to produce electricity should be investigated, according to a consultant’s preliminary report on waste management in the Cayman Islands. 

A feasibility study to determine whether gas could be “mined” from the sprawling landfill site and used in a waste-to-energy plant is one of the key recommendations in the consultant’s study. 

The study suggests a “gas pumping trial” at the site to test power production capacity. It also recommends consultation on the cost of putting infrastructure in place to export the electricity created to the national grid. 

The consultants say the current site in George Town will ultimately need to be sealed, covered with topsoil and potentially turned into a park. 

They recommend a “capacity study” to determine how much land will be left at the George Town site for landfill once that process has taken place. They also recommend the removal of tires and stockpiled metal from the site. In an assessment of the initial options for the site, consultants Amec Foster Wheeler cautions that even after a new management policy is introduced, landfill space will be required. 

“Management of such wastes would need to be in a fully engineered and contained cell, and this land requirement needs to be balanced with demands for other waste treatment processes at the site,” it says. 

The consultants were asked not to consider any other sites beyond George Town for a landfill, though government has said that other waste management facilities, including composting and recycling plants, could possibly be located elsewhere. 

The potential for waste-to-energy technology to convert landfill gases into electricity has been discussed for some time in Cayman. 

The report calls for a full study alongside a cost-benefit analysis. 

“There is the potential to collect and recover the landfill gas for combustion in a gas engine to produce electricity and a feasibility study is recommended,” it states. 

It warns that the fact that the site is uncapped will make this process more difficult, but concludes it is worth investigating. 

“There is the potential for revenues from landfill gas utilization to offset some of the capping and restoration costs, as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” 

The consultants also raise the prospect of mining the landfill to provide fuel for a waste-to-energy plant, which typically requires large amounts of trash to run effectively. 

They also caution that the “quality” of some of the waste may not be suitable for such an operation and suggest the mining process itself could create a bad odor. 

“If landfill mining is potentially feasible, then this would greatly reduce the volume of waste within the site. The downside is that the likely low input rates into a waste-to-energy or similar plant would mean the mining would take place over many years with a consequential delay in final capping and restoration,” it states. 

Government released a pair of reports late last week for public consultation. The reports, one an Integrated Solid Waste Management System update, the other a draft National Solid Waste Management Policy consultation document, summarizes some of the work by consultants Amec Foster Wheeler and the options on the table for the island. 

The document is mostly broad policy ambitions, including implementing programs to reduce waste production and increase recycling. 

One clear recommendation in the report is that people should pay for disposal of the waste they produce. 

The document states, “Government is committed to engage and work with all sectors of our community on the 4Rs to reduce the waste we produce, promote waste reuse and recycle wherever this is pragmatic and to otherwise recover energy from the waste that remains. By doing this, we will end our historic over-reliance on landfill and remediate the existing sites, improve the sustainability of waste management practices and work towards a waste conscious population that is empowered to take action and deliver strong and positive contributions.”  

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A feasibility study to determine whether gas could be ‘mined’ from the George Town Landfill and used in a waste-to-energy plant is one of the key recommendations in a consultant’s study. – Photo: Chris Court
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  1. There we go again, let’s see if we the Government can spend a other million $ on a study and get a other report to put on top shelf. Why don’t these politicians go on a tour of other modern garbage disposing sites and see what is being done there , and fix the Cayman Islands garbage problem. I know that the politicians would only be able to effectively use the phrase once "look at what I did" but look at what you would be doing for the people and the Islands and the environment which we all live in .

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  2. I mean Really, wasn’t this done already ? Why are we reinventing the wheel when we already know that the place cannot be mined and turned into energy in any financially feasible manner? We’ve been through this over and over again, I am guessing that these guys assume that everyone has short memories. My jaw actually dropped when I read this.

    The consultants say the current site in George Town will ultimately need to be sealed, covered with topsoil and potentially turned into a park.

    Wasn’t this the same thing Dart was offering to do for free ?

    They recommend a “capacity study” to determine how much land will be left at the George Town site for landfill once that process has taken place. They also recommend the removal of tires and stockpiled metal from the site.

    Another study? Didn’t the PPM say during campaign season that they already had a solution and that there was room at the site for it. Is it possible that they made these campaign statements without any idea of what the situation actually was. Oh Yeah and did we really need them to recommend to us the removal of tires and stockpiled metal from the site. Give me a break.

    The consultant caution that even after a new management policy is introduced, landfill space will be required.

    So they will need to build a new site somewhere else, how is this different than what Dart offered to do for free, outside of the fact that the site he offer us for free was in BoddenTown and blowing this off was a huge part of what got the PPM elected.

    Now we will just have to pay for all this, in addition to the cost of the consultants.

    It is quite obvious why they were asked not to consider any other sites outside of GeorgeTown. Because that last thing they would need is for their own consultants to recommend anything similar to what was offered by Dart.

    I am sure as the consultants say all these ideas and recommendations are worth investigating. I am sure it’s worth it to them and maybe the PPM but is it worth it to Cayman?

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  3. This sounds like a broken record. And insult to intelligence of this island residents and visitors.
    I am starting to think it is done intentionally. Who is behind this "Mary goes round" scheme? Who benefits from inaction?

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  4. Who Benefits from this you ask, that would be the highly paid Consultants and those that either get commissions, referral fees or whatever it’s called these days by insuring they get these contracts. Some may even give kickbacks or personal financial incentives to the get the business. But the one thing that seems obvious is that given the information provided in these reports over and over again, it’s certainly not Cayman that’s benefiting.

    Please note that I am in no way suggesting any dishonorable behavior by the CIG or intending to act in any kind of Treasonous way.

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  5. @Michael Davis,you really have some nerve.First you insult us by insinuating that "Some may even give kickbacks or personal financial incentives to the get the business".Then you say that you are not suggesting any dishonorable behavior by the CIG or intending to act in any kind of Treasonous way". Really? By the way can you provide proof to the public that Dart was offering to remediate the present landfill site for free.You also state that "they will need to build a new site somewhere else, how is this different than what Dart offered to do for free, outside of the fact that the site he offer us for free was in BoddenTown and blowing this off was a huge part of what got the PPM elected." Was that really the Dart offer,or were we told that what was to be built in Midland Acres was not a landfill.Please get your facts straight ;the Dart offer was not to do this for free but as part of the NRA agreement between Dart and CI Government.

    ***Editor’s Note: The NRA agreement was a separate, stand-alone deal, apart from the negotiations over the landfill. Here is an overview of the NRA agreement as of June 2013: http://www.compasscayman.com/journal/2013/06/05/The-moving-pieces-of-the-NRA-Agreement/***

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  6. [email protected], I apologize if you’ve been insulted in anyway by my comments or opinions, but I do stand behind anything I say or whatever opinion I arrive at from the information I am provided and I do not expect everyone to agree with those opinions. However my intention was not to insult anyone.

    Now regarding my statement about KickBacks and Personal Financial Incentives used as a means to solicit business. Anyone would have to be blind to not realize this is going on everywhere, its business as usual. It can be kickbacks given to someone who chooses a specific consultant, savings offered to a developer in the form of concessions or a new state of the art road built by a developer in trade for another outdated road, even a scholarship given to a student who happens to have excellent basketball skills. It can also be a free car, fridge, washer, vote or even an offer to pay an outstanding bill. My point here is that this type of stuff happens every day and not just in Cayman this is how Governments lure inward investment and businesses solicit new clients, and yes it’s also how some underhand deals are made.

    In my opinion this is also the reason a lot of bad deals are made, if you ask me whenever you see someone making an obviously bad deal, signing an obviously bad contract or paying for services that are obviously not needed, they are getting something out of it. It doesn’t have to be cash in the bank it can be something as simple as more time to figure out what you’re doing, your kid getting into an exclusive school or even you getting that big job.

    Oh and by the way my comment about not acting in any kind of Treasonous way. IT WAS A JOKE, I guess not everyone can recognize sarcasm. If it insulted anyone, My Bad.

    As far as the Dart offer goes all one has to do is read if they really want the about what this offer was, if one chooses to believe this was a bad deal when the alternative will cost Cayman well over a hundred million dollars . That is one’s own personal opinion as well as their right and mine is that they walked away from a great offer.

    No matter how you twist it this deal would have saved Cayman a bucket load of money and given Cayman a fresh start with Waste management. And the only thing I head people complain about it was that the new site would have been in BoddenTown

    Here’s some details on that offer for you to read taken from this article, go ahead and compare it to what they are saying will be needed:

    http://www.compasscayman.com/caycompass/2011/06/16/Dart,-government-sign-mega-deal/

    Landfill

    The key element of the deal for the Dart Group focused on resolving the George Town Landfill situation. Without resolution, Dart said it could not move forward with further residential build-out of Camana Bay. The Dart Group said the landfill was the “single most commonly stated hurdle for potential purchasers of various residential units at Camana Bay” and that the proposed hotel on the site was negatively impacted the same way.

    Premier McKeeva Bush announced in January that the Dart Group would acquire the George Town Landfill and provide a site and foundation for a new, modern solid waste disposal management facility elsewhere on Grand Cayman. That site will be in Bodden Town, just east of Midland Acres near an old quarry owned by Justin Bodden.

    Dart will close, cap and remediate the George Town Landfill, converting much of it into a public park. Dart recently purchased the land in Bodden Town and will create a platform for the new ‘eco-park’ solid waste management facility.

    As part of the deal, the Dart Group will complete the first phase of that facility, a properly engineered lined, capped landfill. Dart, however, will not operate the new facility.

    Operations and implementation of other aspects of the facility such as waste-to-energy and recycling would be up to the government or another private sector entity.

    It is estimated that the cost of doing the necessary environmental investigation, capping, closing and aftercare work on the George Town Landfill will cost the Dart Group $32.5 million. It will cost an additional $26.5 million to plan and build phase one of the new solid waste management facility, including the cost of the land. The balance of the more than $80 million cash outlay from the Dart Group for infrastructure will be in the extension of the road.

    Here’s a little more info for folks to reads that will explain why I came to the opinion I have.

    http://www.ieyenews.com/wordpress/permission-granted-for-dart-dump/

    http://www.doe.ky/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Technical_Appendices_D-G.pdf

    http://caymaninstitute.blogspot.com/2014/01/it-takes-country-to-raze-landfill.html

    http://www.cayman27.com.ky/2011/06/17/dump-going-just-east-of-midland-acres

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