Work to close and remediate the George Town landfill site and replace it with a suite of modern waste management facilities is not expected to begin until the latter part of next year.
A consortium led by the Dart group was selected as the “preferred bidder” for Cayman’s new Integrated Solid Waste Management System in October 2017. More than a year later, the two parties are still thrashing out the details of the 25-year contract to design, build, maintain, finance and operate the facilities.
Jim Schubert, government’s senior project manager, acknowledged the negotiations were taking a long time but insisted they were going well. He said government was making a 25-year commitment and needed to be satisfied with the overall function and designs of the various facilities before finalizing the contract.
The new system is expected to reduce the 100,000 tons of waste currently going into landfill every year by as much as 95 percent. Instead, much of the trash would be fed into a 7-megawatt, waste-to-energy plant and sold as electricity to the Caribbean Utilities Company.
Recycling and composting centers and a much smaller, lined landfill site are part of Dart’s proposal, but roadside waste collection will remain the remit of the Department of Environmental Health.
The current landfill site will be capped and covered with grass.
There are still a number of steps that need to take place, even before the contract can be signed. That includes an environmental impact assessment, which is expected to be completed by the end of June 2019.
Mr. Schubert said government had been working with the Dart-led consortium to update the technical layouts for the facilities that will make up the new system. These include a materials recovery facility, household waste recycling center, scrap metals facility, waste-to-energy facility, and a smaller, lined landfill to dispose of residual waste.
He said all technical, financial and legal reserved matters should be resolved by early next year, with a draft contract ready by the end of the first quarter. The EIA and planning approval process are expected to take at least until the end of June to conclude. The final contract and “financial close” will take place once the EIA is complete.
Construction is expected to begin in the latter part of next year, with the bulk of the new facilities likely to be operational by the end of 2020. The waste-to-energy facility will take the longest time to complete, and is unlikely to be up and running until the end of 2021.