Workers Gearing Up for ISWMS Project

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Workers sift through refuse at George Town landfill to assess the composition of waste.
Landfill and waste specialists were on-island last week assessing composition of household and commercial refuse for future phases of the proposed Integrated Solid Waste Management System (ISWMS).
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Landfill and waste specialists were on-island last week assessing composition of household and commercial refuse for future phases of the proposed Integrated Solid Waste Management System (ISWMS).

The outline business case for the ISWMS project was released last Monday (19 September 2016) detailing the state-of-the-art system which would replace the current landfill in George Town.

Prepared by environmental consultancy firm Amec Foster Wheeler, the report identifies a public private partnership as the best way to deal with solid waste management in the Cayman Islands.

With recycling, composting and a waste-to-energy plant, the new system could reduce landfilling as much as 95 per cent by following the principles of reduce, reuse, recycle and recover, providing the basis for a permanent and sustainable solution to waste management.

The two consultant specialists from Amec Foster Wheeler spent several days working with members of Department of Environmental Health staff at the landfill going through sample loads of garbage to sort it into various types of waste, including organic fractions, paper, plastic, metals and glass.

They also took samples of landfill gas to help estimate the gas generation rates that could be captured and used for energy after the landfill is closed and capped.

“Having Amec staff here last week to carry out waste composition and landfill gas generation work provides important information that is required for the future procurement of the ISWMS,” said Jim Schubert, ISWMS senior project manager.

At current rates of waste disposal, the existing landfill will reach capacity in around six years, so the outline business case builds on earlier reports to represent the means by which a previously developed strategy will be delivered and implemented.

According to the report, a public private partnership gives better value for money than the government seeking to deliver the project itself. The collaboration would also allow the government to outsource operations that will require specialist recycling, composting and waste-to-energy equipment, operation and maintenance.

The report makes it clear that the new facilities are needed because the existing solid waste management system is not sustainable, poses a potential threat to the environment and local amenities, and does not make best use of a potential resource that could benefit the community.

“The whole point of the Government’s approach is to minimise the on-going need for a landfill,” said Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin. “The argument for the Cayman Islands is not about where we should put more landfills, but how to avoid the need for new sites at all. Landfill is unsustainable and the last option in the internationally recognised waste hierarchy.”

The outline business case suggests:

  • New waste collection arrangements
  • Enhanced waste-reduction measures (home composting, bottle return, etc.)
  • Increased re-use of bulky waste such as old furniture
  • Much-improved recycling facilities and, potentially, a materials recovery facility
  • Composting of yard waste
  • Energy recovery of residual waste
  • A small residual landfill requirement that can be met on the existing site in a new properly engineered facility

The public can learn more about the outline business case recommendations at open house sessions at the Government Administration Building on Grand Cayman on 4 October from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., at the National Trust House on Little Cayman on 5 October from 11.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. and at the Aston Rutty Civic Centre on Cayman Brac on 5 October from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

A questionnaire will be provided at the open house sessions and is being set up on the Ministry of Health website www.ministryofhealth.gov.ky, A copy of the consultation draft outline business case is also available on the website. Submissions should be made by 7 October, 2016.

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