October 15, 2021

The Editor Speaks: Is government concerned by the landfill report?

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Colin Wilsonweb2Although there was nothing knew in the latest environmental report on the Cayman Islands landfill sites it should make government concerned to speed up the action from all the talk.

George Town MLA Roy McTaggart the Councillor who is now in charge of the dump problem also confirmed that the findings were what they expected and there was nothing really alarming. I differ. The report confirmed everything about our landfill problem and it is alarming.

McTaggart was quick to tell the media that they had found someone to take care of the mounting tyre problem at the dumps without giving any more details than that.

This latest report was executed by AMEC Foster Wheeler Environment & Infrastructure UK Ltd. They found the key risks as:

George Town landfill
o Site users and visitors: arsenic in soils as well as hydrogen sulphide and methane;
o Adjacent residents: nuisance from odour and landfill fires;
o Adjacent commercial/industrial site users: hydrogen sulphide from sediments contaminated by various sources including the landfill, as well as nuisance from odour and landfill;
o Groundwater: hydrocarbons from spills and overtopping of bunds;
o Surface water: hydrocarbons from spills and overtopping of bunds, ammonia and orthophosphates from groundwater;
o North Sound: ammonia and metals from canal water; and
o The George Town landfill also has a significant detrimental visual impact from various viewpoints.

Cayman Brac Landfill
o Site users and visitors: methane from landfill gas;
o Groundwater: hydrocarbons from waste oil storage spills to ground; and
o Surface water: metals leaching from landfill.

Little Cayman Landfill
o Groundwater: hydrocarbons from waste oil disposal pit.

The risks to persons ranged from moderate to low regarding arsenic in soils, hydrogen sulphide, other landfill gas trace components, methane, hydrocarbons from waste storage area, dust nuisance, contaminated waters used for recreational purposes, metals, insects, transport of smoke
The high risks was with odour and smoke., hydrocarbons in surface water canals and ammonia. North Sound was mentioned.

Some of the recommendations included monitoring the groundwater well at least on an annual basis, monitoring the North Canal every six months to assess surface water contamination, AND the Department of the Environment should reinstate annual sampling in North Sound to monitor marine water contamination.

I am shocked at this last one. Why did the DoE stop the annual sampling of water in the North Sound?

Where is CIG now with the Integrated Solid Waste Management System (ISWMS) and what comes next?

ANSWER: “We have completed Task 2 of Phase 1 out of three (3) Phases on a path to deliver a National Solid Waste Management Strategy (NSWMS) for the Cayman Islands. Phase 1 is the preparation of the NSWMS and the delivery of environmental investigations at the existing landfills on the islands.
“We are now in the process of preparing a Strategy based on the recommendations made in the Environmental Investigations Interpretative Report and the National Solid Waste Management Policy. It is anticipated that the Strategy will be completed by September 2015.
“Phase 2 is the preparation of an Outline Business Case, to deliver the NSWMS, which should be finalised by the end of December 2015 or early January 2016; and
“Phase 3 is the procurement of the new waste management services and infrastructure in line with the NSWMS.”

See iNews Cayman story published August 30 2015 https://www.ieyenews.com/wordpress/cayman-islands-government-releases-results-of-landfill-site-environmental-review/ that includes the link to download the complete report.

We should all be concerned and I hope the “Strategy based on the recommendations made in the Environmental Investigations Interpretative Report and the National Solid Waste Management Policy” will be completed by September 2015. The “anticipated” date is not acceptable. We are still only on Phase 1 and we have Phase 2 and Phase 3 that haven’t been started.

It looks less and less likely the dump problem will be concluded before the next election.

And if that is the case the new government might just dump all these reports. Like this one did with the ones other governments did.

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