Dump needs $1M equipment

| 12/02/2014

(CNS): The minister with responsibility for the dump has said that government will need to find as much as $1 million to address the management of the George Town landfill. Years of chronic under-investment have meant that the site is not being managed properly, Osbourne Bodden told CNS, and given the constraints imposed by the UK and the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility, which sets out the process government must follow on all public sector projects, it will be impossible to address the long-term solution any quicker than the two years he has already outlined – a timeframe that would still be the case even if the Dart Group proposal to move the dump was a consideration.

As a fire raged across the dump on Grand Cayman Wednesday, Minister Bodden, speaking to CNS from the dump (a.k.a. Mount Trashmore) pointed out that even if the solution proposed by Dart or others to move the dump was still on the table, the timeframe would not change as government is constrained by the FFR, which wassigned by the previous UDP government.
Bodden said that if the UK gave the Cayman government the go-ahead to do it more quickly then he would, but he said he had to follow the process and that would take about two years, no matter what the end solution was.

“That is the reality we are faced with,” he said. “This is not just an Ozzie problem, it’s a country problem,” the minister added, as he pointed to the long term chronic under-investment at the site. He explained that government would still have to spend some money in the meantime to manage the landfill more effectively outside the process towards a public-private partnership to establish an entirely new system.

He said there were short to medium term measures government could take to better manage the site until a new comprehensive waste-management solution was in place and that meant buying new equipment and fixing what could be repaired. Bodden said he would need to scrape together around one million dollars to purchase the right equipment to reduce fires and deal with Mount Trashmore more effectively.

The fire on Wednesday was difficult to put out, he explained, because it was “very deep inside the landfill because the department does not have the right kind of equipment it needs to properly deal with the garbage mound," causing fires to burn deep inside.

There are two types of fires, according to officials. One is a surface fire which burns and spreads predominantly at the surface; the other is a deep seated fire which burns much deeper within the layers of the landfill. These deep seated fires cause new fires to break out when surface fires are extinguished.

“Methods such as compaction are normally used to reduce waste and the air pockets in landfills areas, and as such can in turn minimise the occurrence of fires,” Bodden said. “While this type of fire is not uncommon in landfills, we obviously want to minimise their occurrence. This can be done through different measures, including minimising the working face of the landfill, effective compaction of the waste, and covering the waste with inert material.”

One of the challenges that the Department of Environmental Health (DEH), which manages the dump, faces is damaged and inadequate equipment. But, the minister said, government officials were currently looking at an immediate plan of action to bring in new equipment to mitigate the problem.

In the meantime, Director of DEH Roydell Carter confirmed that despite the lack of resources, there is a contingency plan. 

“This is not the first time we’ve had to deal with a fire situation like this one, and it differs from the fire before Christmas when the fire was in the tyres and scrap metal areas. This fire is in the waste mound, which is more common, and easier to manage and control.”

Some of DEH’s existing equipment is currently being repaired and should be restored later this week. In the meantime, private companies have also been called to assist. In the event that any future fires occur, re-installation of on-site deep wells is also being pursued. This will allow the Fire Service to tackle the fire from various locations.

As a longer term solution to the problem, once the new equipment is purchased, the ministry and DEH are looking into creating a functional, safe and inexpensive maintenance facility at DEH. Currently, there is no area where such things can be stored, cleaned or maintained in order to ensure longevity of the machines.

The landfill remained closed throughout Wednesday as the fire raged, with plumes of smoke stretching across George Town. As well as potential health hazard for residents, it was visible from the five cruise ships carrying more than 14,000 passengers that arrived.

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  1. Diogenes says:

    “This is not just an Ozzie problem, it’s a country problem,”

    ‚ÄčThe country's problem is that PPM members, the Minister included, are putting their chances of re-election by BT constituents ahead of the wider interests of the country, pure and simple.  Otherwise explain how a free solution proposed by Dart is an FFR problem or something that needs 2 years to debate.  Meantime we all have to put up with the ongoing enviromental degradation and tourism impact.  For shame.  A small island, yet we still manage to have "not in my backyard' perspectives because our politicians cannot look beyond their own, selfish and very short term interests.  

  2. Anonymous says:

    In some european countries the garbage bags are marked with the cities name and can only be bought at city hall at a high price.

    This trick reduced the amount of waste tremendously, since people buy products with less package material, recycle themselves and consume responsible.

    Illegal dumping is a risk here, but is fined big time.

    The problem is overconsumption.

    • Anonymous says:

      How many times have you heard or read of anyone paying a fine for illegal dumping or littering?  Who is the gate keeper?  Hire people to police the littering and dumping, thereby increasing revenue and reducing the unsightly waste on the islands.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Heard on the news tonight that Moses is spending $500k to upgrade a sports field on the Brac..Can we borrow that? would get us half way?

    So sick of hearing that CIG doesn't have any money…They just don't have it for anything else but their pet projects..

    Shame on all of them!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      if there was a population increase on Cayman Brac, he would expect half of the budget to be spent there.  Stop the stupidity now and deal with reality.  How many people are going to utilize that edifice?  Are you going to import people over there 24/7 to ensure Value for Money?  

      The Emperor has to have an new car mentality.  You know what's needed, an hurricane shelter for GEORGE TOWN.  Stop playing games!

  4. Foreign Devil says:

    Do not waste any money on this white elephant , save the funds for the new Waste Management   Facility in BoddenTown.

  5. brit says:

    Is someone starting these fire at the dump?? Seems awfully suspicious to me!

  6. ThIs WrItInG Is VeRy IrRiTaTiNg says:

    Once the fire is out get all of the guys from the jail on a chain gang to dig out all of the beer bottles that are in the dump, load them into shipping containers, put them on a ship and send them somewhere that pays a refund on them.  I'm guessing that would raise several million dollars even at 10 cents a bottle. While they're at it they might as well set aside all of the other glass, aluminium cans and recyclable plastic items too.  Maybe it would have been easier to separate the recyclable items before putting them into the giant pile but who knows?  The good news is that the jail is bursting at the seams with guys with plenty of time to spare who could do the work for free.

    Instead of pouring more money into the existing problem wouldn't it make more sense to buy equipment to finally start recycling in Cayman? All it would take is a few purpose built trucks, a blue box for every household on the island and a sorting facility to prepare it for shipping to the highest bidder.  I'm guessing that would cost far less than $1 million and pay for itself going forward.  I can organise it all this weekend if no one else wants to do it.  The only thing I'll need is the government credit card number to buy everything online. 

    The duty on all types of disposable food containers that are not currently recyclable here should be increased by a factor of 10 to force importers to only bring in recyclable containers..

    • Anonymous says:

      Where are the educators at the DEH?  When are they going to show their faces and start educating the people on sorting their trash?  By the time the new dump is ready, everyone would be prepared and ready for sorting and recycling.  

      Procrastination is the thief of time Mr, Director.  It is time for you to come out of your comfort zone and flex your muscles.

    • Anonymous says:

      You watch too much seinfield come back to reality your idea is taken from a  tv show

  7. Anonymous says:

    Nation Building Fund!  Oh wait the last government spent it frivolously.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Interestingly, the "underinvestment" of $1 million over the last few years is around the same amount the the previous premier squandered on travel.

    Again, we see the importance of having good leadership. We are still paying for the previous government's shortcomings.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Here's a suggestion I have put forward many times, for those NIMBY's out there.

    Rehbilitate the existing dump site and get it sorted to international standards.

    New garbage needs to be sorted/classified/compressed for handling. Bring in a trash barge, like they use on all those small islands in the north east US. Load it at night and export the garbage to Cuba for example, at a set rate per ton. It will probably be cheaper than the current costing model.

    Review staffing levels.

    Keep the trash stockpile area large enough to cope with times when weather is bad for docking.

    When the barge comes back empty, fill it with nice fresh Cuban fruit and veggies for resale on Island. Obviously with proper handling and hygiene. Think outisde the box here, no need to come back empty!

    Just get on with it!





  10. Anonymous says:

    So to even begin thinking about the problem (that's been on the national agenda for decades) he'd like $1m and 2 years. My God. The political leadership of this country has to contain the most useless bunch of layabouts ever gathered in one place. Is he honestly saying that nobody at any time has come up with a plan of action for dealing with the dump? That the possible solutions are still totally unknown? I can't believe that. 

    How about this instead: Step 1: review the studies that have already been done (or get someone to read them out loud to you if that's too hard) (time required- 2 days); Step 2: put out a tender for carrying out the necessary work (get the AG involved if you don't think you can resist the backhanders you will be offered) (time required – 1 or 2 months); Step 3: Pick the best bid (time required – a couple of hours including breaks); Step 4: tell them to get started!

    Step 5: be the first Caymanian politician ever to turn jawboning into action.


    • The Regt. says:

      Either lead, follow or get out of the way.

      If Politicians cannot do any of these, get them out quicker than they got in there.

  11. Anonymous says:

    That doesn't sound correct.  The latest version of the FFR I saw released stated it only applied to projects where the lifetime value of the project exceeded 5M.  The FFR also included the definition of lifetime value as the net present value of government financing required for the project.  Unless I'm mis-remembering the DART proposal, it was that they would build the new dump, move the dump, and take over and attempt to clean up the existing dump at no cost, but then they retain ownership of the current toxic waste dump. 

    So no government financing would be required, thus FFR would not be appicable.  Now I don't believe the full DART deal was ever released (at least that I saw), but assuming what was reported was in the ballpark, either Ozzie is confused or he is being very disingeuous to obfuscate the fact we are still sitting here with nothing done in large part because of the resistance of his and his colleagues.

    • Anonymous says:

      No, that wasn't the Dart proposal. The Dart proposal IIRC was:

      1. Give government a piece of land big enough for a dump and create the first lined cell and some of the other built infrastructure; Government would have to build the other cell(s) in the near future and maybe some of the infrastructure. Whether this would be enough to trigger the FFR I don’t know. And it probably depends on how much you counted as ‘new costs’ vs ‘costs they would have to pay at the old dump anyway’, like the million dollars in this article.
      2. Not move the dump.
      3. Take over the existing dump site. But not “clean up the existing dump”. They did imply some type or ‘capping’ but it was never talked about in detail. What they clearly did not say was “remediation”, i.e., ‘clean up’.
      4. Whether their ownership of the new dump site would make them responsible for any toxic waste in or form it … was probably being argued about in the background. I hope.  
  12. Anonymous says:

    more money, more problems and no real solution in sight. 

    • Anonymous says:

      And how much will we lose if the fire service keeps having to put outfires…CI$2,000,000 over time?

  13. Anonymous says:

    Get the money from the Brac airport redevelopment budget. 

  14. Anonymous says:

    Give me a $1million dollars and I'll fix the dump..screw the equipment.

  15. Anonymous says:

    How about showing us the total fees collected and a breakdown of the spend on operations for the last few years …

    I don't understand why we're supposed to believe $1 mill extra this or that, without any supporting facts or figures whatsoever?

    Someone has to be accountable for this! Not just vague reference to lack of resources




  16. Anonymous says:

    We in Bodden Town DON"T WANT THE DUMP HERE and I hope everyone in Bodden Town will fight against this!!!! Property value will definitely depreciate!

    • Comoncents says:

      Well it is very clear it is going to have to there. So you better on get onside. BT will get a dump maybe not today and maybe not tomorrow. But it will happen, it has to happen.

    • Anonymous says:

      Idiot. Stop letting emotion cloud your thinking. Have you seen the price per square foot for property around the existing landfill? It’s industrial land and the cost for it is significant. It has not fallen in value, it has risen.

    • Anonymous says:

      Property values will not depreciate. This is going to be a first class facility. Why do people seem to think that it will be exactly like the dump is now. It will not be!!

      • Anonymous says:

        Because they are a people of the mentality of a fishing village. They have no long term exposure to development. They do not understand economics. They want all the money they can get but dont want the foreigners. Especially Mr. Dart.

        Remember we Caymanians just started to see what the real world is about,  within the last 45 years. Our men went to see but that didnt help them much. Ship to post office then the cat houses…back to the ships.

        • Anonymous says:

          You must be speaking for yourself and your experiences or that of your forefathers!

          Please do not assume all Caymanians who went to see have your experience.

    • C'mon Now! says:

      Yes and when the island's tourism product is ruined by the dump fires along with the over crowding at the airport on Saturdays your property will be worth so much more.  Be careful what you wish for or we may end up with Bodden Town for Bodden Towners and Cayman for Caymanians without any visitors. 

      • Anonymous says:

        Thrash has forever been dumped on Bodden Town.  When arable land was taken and used for HMP, that was injustice and arrogance displayed by our leader.  Why should BT be the dumping ground for what isn't wanted in other districts.  Enough is enough.  Do whatever is necessary to make the present location work for all of us, which will be appreciated.   Find a proper solution.

        • Anonymous says:

          Arable land was sold for HMP by the late Edgar Wood (a Bodden Towner) to Jim Bodden (a BoddenTowner) and his government whom Edgar supported with a passion. He got the usual political inflated price. The same Jim Bodden who bulldozed Fort George and whose name is never mentioned nowadays when the Fort George thing comes up. It is always "a local real estate dealer got in an argument with government" etc etc.. Jim drove the bulldozer himself and there are photos to prove it – a real National Hero.

    • Anonymous says:

      Property value will definitely depreciate EVERYWHERE if you don't fix that problem. And businesses that feed you will  depart. Health is more important than money.

    • Anonymous says:

      I have the audacity to speak for everyone in Bodden Town, No dump in Bodden Town!!

    • Anonymous says:

      People like you in Bodden Town dont have the sense to realise what a waste facility is.

      The opportunities it would bring to BT. Your only grip is that  Mr. Dart wants the old dump and you dont want him to get it….jelous,envy and stupid! is the only reason. 

      • Anonymous says:

        He doesn't really want it, he just wants something done about it and was willing to do it himself since the CIG isn't.

    • Anonymous says:

      We already know that you guys could care less about what happens to the rest of the island. You should start referring to yourselves as Bodden Townians not Caymanians..

    • Anonymous says:

      We in Georgetown, will no longer accept garbage from BoddenTown, you people will have to find a way to deal with your own garbage from now on.. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Your arrogance defines you! who are you to stop this country from moving forward? Why do we sit and let a hand ful of Dart- haters dictate to the 50 od thousand citizens, that we should keep the old rotten dump where it is??

      People, we need to stand up and picket the old dump until Ozzi and his crew of stupidity come to a halt!!

  17. Anonymous says:

    It's no use spending $1million on new equipment if in 6-12 months it's just going to end up rusting in the sun alongside all the old stuff.

    What the dump needs is an investment in proper management and the skilled people who can keep the whole thing running before CIG splashe out that kind of money on equipment. 



    • Anonymous says:

      I have to agree with you  19;04

      We need competent people with the skill and knowledge to opperate our waste facility. As we can see there  are4 pieces of equipment out of service. What in the hell are these managers doing? just collecting a fat pay cheque monthly…and increasing their pension. It wont be long before this island goes broke. what a mess!!!

      • Anonymous says:

        A department without an capable boss is useless.  All the equipment in the world will not bebeneficial, until management starts moving forward.  

        DEH is not capable of dealing with the infestation of millipedes, so how can they deal with waste management?

        • Anonymous says:

          One is usually only as good as their boss allows them to be. Look  higher up over the years and see who still controls the funding.