Dump highest point on the Cayman Island?
Standing on one of the mounds at the landfill affords a
view of the cruise ships in the harbour in George Town
A driver stands on one of the mounds at the George
Town Landfill where it is estimated at over 100 feet
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
The George Town Landfill in Grand Cayman is quickly running out of space and users are asking the Government
to find somewhere for them to dump their refuse.
Cayman Net News visited the dumpsite where there were several mounds of garbage all over the landfill,
some covered in earth.
“The people there have covered the garbage with dirt and are dumping more garbage on it. It is high
right now; soon there will be no more space for us to dump anything,” one truck driver told Cayman Net News.
is the highest point in Grand Cayman; soon this place will be a tourist attraction, because of the rate the mountain is growing
here,” he said.
In 2002, the government of the day commissioned the Solid Waste Feasibility Study for Grand Cayman, which
was prepared by the Department of Environmental Health and the US consulting firm of Post, Buckley, Schuh and Jernigan.
The study said “It is “critical” that a new landfill be sited, permitted and constructed
on Grand Cayman “as soon as possible” because the existing site is nearing capacity.”
The 200-page report also stated: “In order to upgrade the waste management system in Grand Cayman
to internationally accepted environmental standards, it is recommended that a new, engineered landfill be developed.”
The study did not include an alternative systems analysis for Little Cayman or Cayman Brac. The report
“assumes” that Little Cayman and Cayman Brac will each manage their own waste separately without reliance upon
the Grand Cayman system.
According to the report, due to the relatively high costs of constructing and operating modular or mass
burn waste incinerators, incineration may not be available as a waste reduction process in the immediate future, other than
for small amounts of special waste.
“Plans for a future incinerator could commence now,” the study said, “but in the interim,
a landfill needs to be constructed. Simple forms of composting should be implemented, and if viable markets for compost can
be developed, more in-vessel composting should be considered.”
The George Town Landfill, which is estimated to be about 23 years old, is located on a 58-acre, Government-owned
parcel of land.
Estimates in 1999 placed waste generation in Grand Cayman at 44,000 tonnes per year.
One other user of the landfill said that there are a few other sites around Grand Cayman where landfill
could be established but the residents in nearby districts have always opposed the establishment of a dumpsite in their area.
Cayman Net News tried contacting the Hon Arden McLean whose portfolio include the Department of Environmental
Health and the George Town Landfill for a comment, but he was not available for a comment. For sometime now the issue of dump
and the fact that it is essentially full has been raised, but as yet the Government has not offered a full explanation to
the future of waste management in the Cayman Islands.
Meanwhile, however, Government has said the Department of Environmental Health (DEH) can proceed with
the construction of a lined cell at the landfill to deal with the toxic ash generated in the wake of Hurricane Ivan and which
had raised concerns recently.
It is made up of an impermeable plastic liner onto the 45,000 square foot landfill cell at the George
The lined ash deposition cell system engineered by DEH staff should provide maximum protection for ground
water and surrounding ecosystems from the potential seepage of toxins from the ash.
This cell will be used to house ash accumulated from the burning of treated and untreated wood from storm
For the past 16 months, ash deposits have been stored at MC Restoration’s collection sites. These
deposits are now scheduled to be transferred in February to the landfill site, provided there are no further delays.
“We want to make sure that the public is not exposed to contaminants, which is why we are taking
the time to ensure that each aspect of this project is carried out in a safe and purposeful manner,” commented Solid
Waste Engineer, Andre Yates.
The ash will be spread out across the engineered cell and covered by another layer of the same type of
liner for complete encapsulation. “The top and bottom liner will act like a large plastic bag, trapping the ash”,
explained Chief Environmental Health Officer, Roydell Carter.
The DEH is committed to ensuring that the ash does not endanger the public in anyway, both during transport
and upon deposition at the cell.