The Haags Bosch Sanitary Landfill has returned to normalcy and is now operating as a controlled dump site, Lloyd Stanton, Site Manager said on Friday during a tour of the operation with the Junior Minister of Communities Dawn Hastings.
Stanton, during a briefing with reporters, explained that over a year ago the site was a “chaotic situation with the previous contractor, resulting with a big fire.” He added that they have managed “to bring back the landfill to a level of normalcy.”
Last year, Puran Brothers Disposal Inc. was awarded a $221 million contract for the operation and maintenance of the Haags Bosch Sanitary Landfill for a period of one year.
According to the site manager, within the last year they have been able to successfully complete the first phase of work to restore the site to a landfill.
“That phase would have included clearing all the unwanted garbage to Cell One, and compacting and covering it. We have moved from the confusion to what we can now call a control dumping setting,” Stanton said. He stated that the only open area at the site is towards the end of the cell where they are working.
Stanton noted that preparations are being made to roll out Phase Two and a budget has been submitted to the ministry.
The second phase of the project includes the construction of asphalted roads around the perimeter of the landfill and the reintroduction of the educational programme for pickers and other staff on safety practices.
Stanton stressed that the ultimate objective is to transform the landfill into a sanitary state, “where we will have composting, proper waste separation… separation at the source of pick up, and then we are hoping to get some leachate treatment on board.”
Several facilities are currently under construction, Stanton said, as they work to enhance the site to collect and drain waste substance. He explained that the facility for the leachate treatment is currently being constructed, while the maturation pond is almost finished, and the anaerobic and facultative pond is 80% completed.
Tenders for the new contract for Phase Two are expected to be advertised soon. The Phase One contract will expire in September, according to the site manager.
Meanwhile, Minister Hastings, in brief comments, said that she was able to achieve the objective of her visit, but expressed concern at the working conditions under which the garbage pickers operate. “My greatest concern is the health of pickers. I think we need to have a system in place where by we can monitor their health; have sanitisers… these people are helping us, and we need to ensure their social and health welfare are properly addressed,” she emphasised.
Responding to the concern of the minister, Stanton explained that the management of the site is working to integrate proper health services. He explained that they presently have an onsite medical team, which has received first aid training for emergency cases. Staff of the landfill also have direct access to the Health Centre in Agricola, he said, while pointing out that they conduct a monthly health assessment on the staff in the compound.
Further, he said that they have implemented a new system where they collect a monthly fee of $1,000 from each member of staff, which will be used to enhance the toilet, relaxation and storage facilities.
During the conducted tour, the junior minister was able to view demonstrations of tyre and tree shredding, which are parts of a new pilot project. The management of the facility is looking to start composting at the site by converting biodegradables into organic fertilizers for retail.
In addition, Minister Hastings said that she is advocating for the separation of garbage at the source of collection. The minister disclosed that they would have to relook at the garbage collection schedule and implement a much more organised system to collect the various forms of waste on different days.
Hastings also announced that she would like to see the construction of the roads within the compound and work started on Cell Two of the landfill by the end of 2017. During the tour, it was pointed out that Cell One is approaching its saturation point.