Fri | Dec 1, 2023

Waste-to-energy plant under consideration for St Ann landfill

Published:Wednesday | October 4, 2023 | 12:05 AM

The Jamaican Government wants to test the feasibility of expanding the St Ann landfill at Haddon fivefold and adding a waste-to-energy plant there, according to the Development Bank of Jamaica. Haddon is one of three sites being tested for...

The Jamaican Government wants to test the feasibility of expanding the St Ann landfill at Haddon fivefold and adding a waste-to-energy plant there, according to the Development Bank of Jamaica.

Haddon is one of three sites being tested for modernisation and energy generation amid moves to privatise the waste management sector.

The other sites are in St Catherine and St James, which are to undergo similar studies later.

Government wants to get half of the island’s power needs from renewable energy sources, led by solar and wind, but also incorporating initiatives such as waste conversion. It’s currently tendering for investors to develop and operate up to 100 megawatts of renewable energy projects.

The Haddon disposal site currently occupies about 37 acres of lands owned by the government. By comparison, Jamaica’s largest metropolitan landfill at Riverton City in Kingston spans 120 acres.

The DBJ said it prefers Haddon as the first site, due to its proximity to Highway 2000, its absence of other business or farming activity in its vicinity; and that it’s large enough to avoid external contamination.

“The implementation of the initial phase of the landfill is considered on the 20 hectares located to the south part of the site,” the development bank said in the tender notice for a consultant to conduct geotechnical and geophysical studies for a sanitary landfill.

The deadline for submissions was October 2.

At Haddon, before any infrastructure development, a comprehensive study of the land’s geological and physical characteristics is essential, said DBJ, which acts as the Jamaican government’s chief divestment agent. These investigations will determine the suitability of the ground for holding vast amounts of waste without any risk of contamination to the surroundings.

The DBJ described the overall solid waste management sector in Jamaica as lacking adequate collection, infrastructure management, transportation, and logistics. It added that it also suffers from illegal dumping and absence of big data statistics on disposal.

To address these challenges, in September 2016, the Government announced its intention to privatise solid waste management services, under its public-private partnership policy. A team was set up to oversee its implementation.

“A key component for the implementation of the Integrated Solid Waste Management PPP is the identification of alternative sites for a new sanitary landfill, transfer stations and waste-to-energy facility,” stated the DBJ.

The development bank did not respond to requests for comment.

steven.jackson@gleanejrm.com