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Tuesday, June 18, 2024


Nov. 23, 2001 – Since the Water and Power Authority board isn't willing to buy electricity and water from the $180 million solid-waste gasification plant that he wanted for the territory, Gov. Charles W. Turnbull said Friday, he'll focus on other options.
Plan B, he said, is for "Public Works to explore alternative and interim solutions, including compacting and plastic-wrapping solid waste "for temporary storage until a comprehensive and long-term solution is developed and agreed upon."
On Nov. 15, the WAPA board turned thumbs down on a 30-year commitment to buy power and water that it has the capacity itself to produce. The entire proposal from Caribe Waste Technologies to finance, build, own and operate the plant was contingent on the utility committing to purchase the byproducts of the chemical processing system, thereby reducing the government's annual costs by $11 to $12 million. For further details, see the earlier Source story "WAPA board says no to solid-waste plant deal".
Expressing "disappointment" with WAPA's decision, Turnbull said in a release Friday that Caribe Waste Technologies was selected by the administration "after careful review of CWT's technology by a high-level government review panel, including representatives of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy."
Turnbull readily conceded that "without the revenues generated by the sale of water and electricity to WAPA, however, the project is not economical."
The territory's two dumps, the Bovoni landfill on St. Thomas and the Anguilla landfill on St. Croix, have been in violation of federal environmental regulations for years. In addition, the Federal Aviation Administration has given the government until the end of 2002 to shut down the Anguilla site altogether. If that doesn't happen, the FAA says, it will shut down the nearby Henry E. Rohlsen Airport, because of the hazards to flight operations posed by birds that feed at the landfill and smoke from combustion there.
According to the Government House release, "Bailing and wrapping solid waste is an established technology used by many municipalities and local governments on the mainland to dispose of solid waste and to minimize the use of conventional landfills." It said the technique involves compacting waste into bales that are then "securely wrapped in plastic." The water-tight bales then can be "stored, stacked, landfilled or transported off-island," it said.
The release said it would cost an estimated $8 million to $10 million to construct a processing site and purchase and install the needed equipment. It said baling and wrapping "would buy time for several years while a long-term solution is developed."
Turnbull said his administration is committed to operating the Anguilla and Bovoni landfills "in compliance with federal environmental laws," and he said the government "has recently made significant strides in improving conditions at both." Steps taken, he said, include "posting signs, erecting fences to prevent unauthorized dumping, and separating and shipping certain types of waste such as used oil and lead batteries to authorized disposal facilities."
In the release, the governor also advocated the creation of a Waste Management Authority that would have independence and funding to administer all solid waste and wastewater treatment operations in the territory.

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