Work to begin on capping unsightly landfill

Work to cap and cover Mount Trashmore – Grand Cayman’s infamous landfill site – will begin early next year, according to a joint statement from government and the Dart group.

An environmental impact assessment on the wider waste-management project, which will feature a suite of new facilities, including a waste-to-energy plant, recycling and composting centres and a much smaller lined landfill site, is also set to begin.

The two organisations are still finalising the full contract for the Cayman Islands’ new waste-management system. A consortium led by Dart’s construction firm Decco was announced as the preferred bidder on the project two years ago.

Since then, Dart has been in protracted negotiations with government over the details of a 25-year contract to take over responsibility for waste management.

Though that deal has yet to be finalised, Dart and government say they are now in a position to begin capping the existing landfill – dubbed ‘Mount Trashmore’ because of its unsightly presence towering over George Town and its visibility to arriving aircraft and cruise ships.

“As negotiations continue to progress between the Decco Consortium and the Cayman Islands Government, we are pleased to confirm that capping and covering the main mound at the current landfill is expected to start early next year and that the Terms of Reference for the Environmental Impact Assessment was submitted to the Environmental Assessment Board this month,” Dart and government said in a statement this week, following multiple requests for information.

Citing the fact that the policy and strategy of the Integrated Solid Waste Management System had already gone through public consultation, government and Dart said the EIA would focus on the design and impact of the new facilities.

These are said to include a waste-to-energy facility, material recovery facility, a green waste composting facility, a construction and demolition waste facility, and a household waste recycling centre, as well as a bottom ash processing facility, an end-of-life vehicle and scrap metal processing facility.

The Environmental Assessment Board is expected to complete its review of the draft terms of reference for that study in the coming weeks. The EIA will also look at long-term remediation options for the landfill.

Both entities acknowledged the process from the announcement of Dart as preferred bidder on 11 Oct. 2017 had been drawn out.

“Although negotiations have taken longer than initially anticipated, the extended consultation period is not unusual for contracts of this scale and complexity. Dart and the Cayman Islands Government are equally committed to ensuring that ISWMS solution be implemented in a timely manner while representing a long-term, environmentally sustainable and value for money solution for the country,” the statement noted.

To facilitate capping and covering the main mound of the landfill site, the statement indicated tipping operations will be moved to lower areas of the existing landfill where there is said to be sufficient capacity to contain the country’s waste until the planned facilities are fully operational.

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