Dart: Air quality data at waste facility will be public

During the construction and operation of a proposed 10-storey waste-to-energy plant which is being considered as a replacement for the George Town landfill, air quality will be continuously monitored and the findings will be made public, according to Dart representatives.

Dart environmental social governance programme manager Richard McAree, in response to an audience member’s question at a public meeting Wednesday night, 9 June, said, “From an air-quality perspective, there will be real-time monitoring and the public will have access to that data on a daily basis.”

McAree was speaking at the second of three public meetings as part of the consultations on the ReGen project’s environment impact assessment terms of reference.

He said he also anticipated that data for other monitoring requirements, such as for water quality, would also be published.

McAree, along with other Dart staff, the directors of the Department of Environment and Department of Environmental Health, and consultants from technical professional services firm GHD, delivered presentations on the draft EIA terms of reference and the plans for the facility, to an audience at the Harquail Theatre.

One part of the facility is a waste-to-energy plant, where household waste will be incinerated and converted into electricity, which will be sold to the Caribbean Utilities Company. Negotiations on the power-sale deal between Dart and CUC are continuing.

One attendee wanted to know if this arrangement will lead to lower electricity bills for residents of Cayman.

Dart’s Andrew Small said the energy supplied from the plant would replace some of the electricity currently generated through diesel. While a final agreement has not been reached on how much CUC would pay Dart for the power from the proposed facility, he said he did not anticipate that the arrangement would lead to higher bills for customers.

Dart’s Richard McAree outlines the nine elements that will make up the waste-management plant during his presentation at the Harquail Theatre on Wednesday evening, 9 June. – Photo: Alvaro Serey

Another audience member said the facility was much larger than she had been expecting, and asked if the waste-to-energy plant would indeed be a 10-storey building, as shown on renderings of the project.

McAree responded that the EIA would help inform the design. “It’s meant to be taken as a rendering, as opposed to a final design,” but added, “It’s reasonable to assume it will be a reasonable size of infrastructure, about 10 storeys high; it will have a stack.”

Dart’s engineering coordinator Martin Edelenbos said the closest comparison to the proposed plant in Cayman is probably the Tynes Bay Waste Treatment Facility in Bermuda, which processes 70,000 tons of solid waste a year. Cayman’s facility is expected to process up to 100,000 tons annually, which is equivalent to the amount of garbage that the landfill is currently taking in each year.

Another audience member asked if water used to cool the waste-to-energy plant would end up in the nearby North Sound, to which GHD’s Blair Shoniker responded, “No direct discharge of cooling waster into the marine environment will occur.”

A third meeting is scheduled to be held Thursday evening at Breakers Civic Centre.

An artist’s rendering of how the dump site may look once remediation and capping is complete. – Supplied by Dart

Once the terms of reference have been finalised, an EIA will be carried out, resulting in a draft environmental statement, which will be subject to another round of public consultation. After that, a final environmental statement will be drawn up, along with an environmental management plan and a letter of final recommendation by the Environmental Assessment Board. Once those steps are complete, a decision will be made by the Central Planning Authority or Cabinet.

The draft terms of reference for the environmental impact assessment can be viewed here.

Comments from the public can be submitted: 1) in writing during the public meeting, 2) electronically via email to¬†[email protected], 3) mailed to Department of Environment, P.O. Box 10202, Grand Cayman KY1-1002, or 4) hand-delivered, in writing, to Department of Environment, Environmental Centre, 580 North Sound Road, George Town, Grand Cayman.

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