Landfill garbage compactor breaks down

CAPTION The Aljon 500 compactor has not worked since August.

A $450,000 garbage compactor at the George Town landfill has been out of action for two months while the Department of Environmental Health awaits parts for the machinery.

In the meantime, the DEH has had to rent equipment to compact the garbage, at a cost of more than $20,000.

The ‘Aljon 500’ compactor, which has been in service at the landfill since 2015, came to a grinding halt after experiencing mechanical and engineering issues.

“The Aljon, which is our main compactor for the landfill, which we use to compact the garbage, has been down for two months now,” said DEH Director Richard Simms. “Parts have been ordered by the DVES (Department of Vehicle and Equipment Services) and [local material-handling equipment company] Liftech, jointly, and it is expected to be completed by next week.”

The compactor is no longer under warranty and since breaking down in August, it has racked up $32,449.71 in repair costs.

A further $9,364.73 for engine parts will be required to get it back up and running.
Simms stressed that the compactor is essential for the landfill to function properly.

“We’ll always have landfill fires, but the big preventative measure is the compaction,” said Simms. “So, with the compactor out, you will have space to build gaps.”

The “gaps” refer to air pockets which serve as an area for methane gas to build up.
Methane, a highly combustible gas, can eventually ignite and lead to fires of varying sizes and degrees.

In the last two months, Cayman Compass has reported on four landfill fires, three of which occurred in September.

Simms said while bringing the compactor back online will not eliminate the risk of fires at the landfill, it will significantly reduce it.