Commission to discuss Guam’s landfill site dilemma
By Gina Tabonares
Variety News Staff
September 4, 2007
THE problem of where to construct the next Guam landfill will be the major topic at tomorrow’s meeting of the Solid Waste Law Review Commission in Adelup.
The selection of the landfill site is complicated by several issues that include pending litigation in the Guam Supreme Court.
Aside from regulations on land use for residential and commercial developments that restrict the number of sites available for the landfill, a study made by the Guam Resource Recovery Partners, or GRRP, stated that landfill development is further constrained by restricted military lands, inadequate roads beyond Cetti Bay and Talafofo Bay to the south, and the close proximity of communities to potential sites.
Based on an earlier study conducted by Juan Tenorio Associates, the drawbacks also include the water resources in the limestone aquifer in the north, stream flow sources in central Guam, and the Fena reservoir in the south.
Several locations have been identified, including ones in Dandan or Layon, Guatali, and Malaa.
The Dandan location is being objected to because of its potential impact on both current and future drinking water resources, while Guatali and Malaa are under scrutiny for their size, slopes and land use incompatibility.
The selection of the next landfill is the subject of a lawsuit filed by residents of southern Guam to stop the government from spending funds in Dandan because of an existing law stating that the next landfill shall be built either at Guatali or Malaa.
To help the commission in its legislative measures, GRRP submitted a preliminary list of ranking candidate landfill sites based on a study of ground and surface water, residential communities, major roadway access, land use and zoning, public and private lands, historic districts, and adequate capacity.
GRRP said Agat ranks number one, followed by Guatali, then by Malaa.
A presentation made by GMP International Inc. president Wagdy A. Guirguis to the Solid Waste Commission last week provided a comparative study between Guatali and Dandan.
According to Guirguis, 100,000 tons per year in Guatali would cost $155.64 per ton in tipping fees by 2010, compared to $267 in a Dandan landfill.
By 2030, the $155.64 will become $63.49 in a Guatali landfill, while the $267 will become $331.57 in Dandan.
The projected household tipping fee in Guatali by 2010 is $14.01, while Dandan will be $24.09 by 2030. In Guatali, it will be reduced to $5.71, while in Dandan it will be increased to $29.84.
Based upon the projected municipal solid waste generation for Guam, the proposed landfill site with the addition of a waste-to-energy facility would accommodate landfill operations for 19 to 21 years. Without the waste-to-energy facility, the proposed site would accommodate landfill operations for approximately 12 years, according to GRRP.
GRRP project coordinator David Sablan said their proposed project site in Guatali Parcel B is located in the municipality of Piti and will provide approximately 3,000,000 cubic yards of solid waste disposal capacity.
In their proposed design, GRRP will include a waste-to-energy facility or incinerator to be located on an adjacent parcel.
The commission will also discuss the GRRP contract, which is currently in litigation in the Supreme Court of Guam.
What about recycling?
The Marianas Variety
September 5, 2007
THE Solid Waste Law Review Commission will meet again today to start discussing — or debating — where to build the new landfill.
Where to build a new landfill? Doesn’t anyone here feel time-warped? Like we’re not moving, or if we are, moving in a circular path. So we’re back on the drawing board?
Of course, the landfill issue must be resolved. But amid all the circular debates over where to build a new landfill, one very important component of solid waste management is neglected, receding to the bottom of the discussion as a mere footnote. We’re talking about recycling.
Recycling is another area where we’re “time warped.” In many states and other countries, recycling is not just a way of life but a major industry as well. On Guam, recycling remains a plan, waiting to happen.
But the plan must take off through setting an aggressive policy. Recycling must be imposed on a community that has yet to appreciate the importance and benefits of recycling. They’ll see its worth eventually.
The policy can start from everyone’s home. Waste must be segregated between recyclables and organic. There has to be a policy that will prohibit garbage collectors from picking up trash not properly segregated.
Offering incentives to green consumers is a good start. The big turnout of participation at the Liberation Day contest for aluminum cans collection proved the success of offering cash for trash.
There are many recycling shops on Guam that buy recyclables. For individual households, recycling can be a source of income that the government should leave tax-free.
Stores can participate by offering discounts for customers who bring their own canvas bags.
The Guam Legislature should revisit an earlier proposal to impose a bottle return policy, which requires that drink bottles be returned to the stores where they are bought in exchange for a five-cent refund. Recycling rates are significantly higher in the 11 states that pay customers a nickel, and in some cases a dime, if they return their bottle. California, Hawaii and Maine include water bottles.
Recycling must be taught and implemented in schools. Collecting old newspapers, aluminum, bottles and other recyclable materials can be a sensible fundraising activity. Starting them young will enable us to raise a green generation.
Imagine if all recyclable materials are recycled. Maybe what we would need is not a landfill but a large compost pit for biodegradable waste that will be turned into fertilizers that our farmers can use.
What else do we need a landfill for — other than the useless garbage being discussed at the Solid Waste Law Review Commission?
Waste-to-energy firm pushes for Piti landfill
By Steve Limtiaco
Pacific Daily News
September 6, 2007
Guam Resource Recovery Partners could have a replacement landfill up and running in Guatali, Piti, by next summer, company representatives told a government commission yesterday morning.
The company, which has a license to burn trash to generate electricity, said it could take several years to obtain the environmental permits necessary for the generator, which means the island's solid waste would be accepted at the site, but not burned, during that time.
The information was provided during this week's meeting of the governor's Solid Waste Law Review Commission, which was created by executive order to address all of the issues affecting the government's ability to close the Ordot dump, as required in a federal court order.
GRRP's contract with GovGuam to build a power plant at the Guatali site currently is being challenged in the local courts, where Supreme Court of Guam justices are expected to issue a ruling.
The GRRP issue is important, because if the commission decides that the government should or must include a trash-burning power plant at a new landfill, it could impact the site selection for the landfill. The current approved landfill site, at Dandan, Inarajan, is too remote to make it cost-effective to produce and transmit electricity to the power grid.
The Guatali site, however, is near a power substation.
Attorney Arthur Clark, who represents GRRP, told the commission that a public law that disallows the use of an incinerator on Guam has not been brought up in court, but the courts have found that a similar law does not affect GRRP's contract with the government.
Clark said Guam law adopted Guatali as the site of the next landfill, and nothing has been presented as a reason to exclude that site.
Commission Chairman Sen. James Espaldon, R-Tamuning, said the commission needs to consider all alternatives as it arrives at its recommendation to the governor.