Full steam ahead for new waste system
26 March 2021, Grand Cayman: Today, the Cayman Islands Government signed a 25-year contract with Dart to design, build, finance, maintain and operate a new integrated solid waste management system, and complete the ongoing remediation of the George Town Landfill.
The signing concludes more than three years of collaboration prior to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), permitting and construction of the project facilities, which will take approximately three years. The new facilities will be located immediately south of the existing landfill.
Premier Alden McLaughlin called the contract signing a landmark achievement.
“This signing represents a historic achievement for the Cayman Islands and the final step towards the delivery of a modern, twenty-first century solid waste solution that will have tremendous benefits for the environment, our community, and future sustainable growth,” he said. “Following the Government’s National Solid Waste Strategy, these new facilities have the capacity to divert up to 95% of waste from being landfilled in the future and contribute 8.5 Megawatts of renewable energy to the grid.”
Hon. Dwayne Seymour, Minister for Health, Environment, Culture & Housing, said the new facilities are essential to safeguard the country’s public and environmental health for current and future generations.
“The remediation of the George Town Landfill and the development of the new energy recovery and recycling facilities will transform the way we deal with waste in the Cayman Islands for the next 25 years and beyond,” he said. “The one thing that will not change is that there will be no direct disposal fees to the public or commercial operators at this time.”
Dart President Development Delivery & Infrastructure Cameron Graham said Dart is looking forward to turning the Government’s vision for sustainable waste management into reality.
“Even as Dart and the Government celebrate this significant milestone, we are looking ahead to the next three years of delivering world-class infrastructure to the people of the Cayman Islands,” he says. “This partnership marks a new chapter in the sustainable development of the country. Under the new system, recycling performance will be improved, and our garbage will become a resource for generating electricity rather than a waste.”
New name unveiled: ReGen
Now named ReGen: Cayman’s Energy & Recycling Centre, the project facilities include:
- Energy recovery facility
- Bottom ash processing facility
- Construction and demolition waste facility
- End-of-life vehicle and scrap metal processing facility
- Residual waste landfill
- Household waste recycling centre
- Materials recovery facility
- Green waste facility
- Medical waste facility
These integrated components which will work together to deliver sustainable waste management, promote the international waste hierarchy (reduce, reuse, recycle, recover, dispose) and divert the majority of our waste from being landfilled.
The Department of Environmental Health (DEH) will continue to manage waste and recycling collection, and operate the materials recovery, household recycling, green waste processing and medical waste facilities, retaining existing local jobs.
DEH will retain responsibility for waste management in the Sister Islands, including transportation of waste from Cayman Brac and Little Cayman to ReGen for treatment.
What to Expect: 2021
Over the course of 2021, remediation of the main mound at the George Town Landfill will continue, with interim tipping operations transitioned to a new area of the landfill. The visual appearance of the site will also be enhanced with privacy screens.
The EIA for the project will commence with the publishing of the Terms of Reference which will soon be available for public consultation.
As the policy, strategy and outline business case for the integrated solid waste management system went through a period of public consultation before receiving final government approval, the EIA will focus on the potential impacts of the facilities and is expected to take approximately a year to complete.
What to Expect: 2022 to 2024
Between 2022 to 2024, the new facilities will be constructed.
Until the energy recovery facility is complete, waste will continue to be landfilled and remediation of the north mound will be completed. As yesterday’s events demonstrated, some risk of fire will remain where there is ongoing tipping or removal of the legacy waste stockpiles. It remains important for the public to properly dispose of potentially hazardous waste such as batteries or other e-waste.
The energy recovery facility will be constructed and operated to the European Union Industrial Emissions Directive, which is considered the highest global standard. Once the energy recovery facility is operational, environmental monitoring will include rigorous air quality testing to ensure compliance with these emissions standards.
Energy recovery facilities produce significantly less emissions than those of on-the-road vehicles or fossil fuel electricity generators.
What to Expect: 2024 and Beyond
Once remediation of the George Town Landfill is complete, it will still take several years for the site to stabilise sufficiently for limited public use. The grassy hill may one day feature a public viewing area.
Remediation will deliver a number of environmental benefits to the community, including:
- Transforming the visual appearance of the current landfill.
- Reducing landfill gas emissions, including cutting greenhouse gas emissions by more than 23,000 tonnes a year; equivalent to removing more than 5,000 cars from our roads every year.
- Eliminating nuisance odours from the current landfill.
- Minimising groundwater and surface water contamination
- Prevent pests from accessing the decomposing waste.
A detailed risk-based assessment and remediation plan has been developed to ensure the remediated George Town Landfill will be a safe neighbour to surrounding homes and businesses going forward.