Clean and Green

Providenciales dumpsite management is an overwhelming success.

By Judith Garland-Campbell, Global Green Consultants, www.globalgreentci.com
Photos By Paradise Photography

Waste collection bins at the "new and improved" Provo dumpsiteOn entering the Providenciales dumpsite, you are immediately captivated by the organization of the operation. There is an attractive sign mounted on a stone-cut wall, behind which is a container for individuals to safely drop garbage without going into the dumpsite itself. Inside the gate, a security guard directs waste collection trucks and visitors to their correct location. Most impressive is the actual disposal face where waste is placed and compacted daily and the only visible sign of trash. Other than that, the area is surrounded by sprawling hills, characteristic of the seaside Blue Hills community, fresh air and a sense of wilderness.

View of the professionally managed Provo dumpsite

This has not always been the case. Roughly a year and a half ago, the waste disposal system was an open dumpsite with little engineering or management — resulting in mounds of exposed waste. Feral dogs and squatting scavengers colonized the site, and illegal fires were set ablaze on a daily basis. Surrounding communities complained bitterly about the persistent odors, windblown litter, pests, soot from the fires and general air quality.

Provo dumpsite pre-clean-up.

In March 2013, the dumpsites in Providenciales and Grand Turk celebrated one year of active management by Turks & Caicos Environmental Management (TCEM). In 2013, TCEM was granted a five year contract with the Turks & Caicos Islands Government (TCIG) to partner in managing the dumpsites as a first phase to a comprehensive waste management project. Jim Hodge, one of TCEM’s Directors, attributes the success of the landfill to the four “C’s” — Consolidated, Covered, Compacted and Consistency. One resident of the area sums it up, “Life is so much better for the residents of Belglade Gardens and Millennium Heights!”
On a daily basis, all incoming vehicles carrying garbage enter the security gate and proceed to the weigh bridge. Gross weight is recorded on entry and net weight on departure, the difference being the weight of the garbage. The vehicles are then directed to the appropriate tipping area, where the waste is inspected and any hazardous waste removed. The remaining waste is filled and compacted in layers in a specific area called the disposal face. Once the final load of waste for the day is dumped, the waste is covered with fill. When the disposal face reaches a specific height, the waste is spread to maintain the required slope.
This first phase of the solid waste project was designed to immediately address the most critical public and environmental health concerns, and the measures outlined above have done so in a sustainable fashion. The next phase of the project will expand on the idea of environmental sustainability with:
• Integration of comprehensive recycling infrastructure;
• Integration of green waste composting infrastructure;
• Cleanup and closure of other underperforming dump sites throughout the TCI and
• Construction of engineered liner systems for further protection of water sources.
“Currently, the threat to the water table has been greatly mitigated by the fact that we’ve got this all under control,” Hodge said of the storm water management system that replaced ponds and lagoons where runoff soaked into the ground quickly. “Long term we need to have a proper liner system that would mitigate the groundwater problem completely.” The TCIG and TCEM are committed to implementing these next steps as appropriate and practicable.

New sanitary landfill
The proposed design of the new sanitary landfill includes the following:
• A liner system combining materials available on-site with modern engineered materials to create an optimum structure for cost-efficiency and performance. This system will ensure that landfill contaminants do not infiltrate ground water, and eliminate the ongoing risks to human and environmental health posed by groundwater intrusion.
• Capture of landfill methane so that it does not escape into the atmosphere. Landfill methane is a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide, and the capture and treatment of this gas is an important step in reducing the TCI’s carbon footprint.
• Installation of leachate capture and collection systems, and other environmental and engineering safeguards.
• Cell projection and design layout to provide airspace sufficient for 20+ years of capacity for the TCI.
Residential recycling program
TCIG and TCEM propose to implement island-wide residential recycling on Providenciales by implementing a “blue bag” program in concert with TCIG and the existing residential haulers. Households with curbside pickup will be provided with blue polyethylene bags that can be filled with mixed recyclables — specifically aluminum and tin cans, plastic containers and glass bottles — and simply place the blue bags in the top of the toters or enclosures currently used. The blue bags will be recovered by TCEM at the landfill — when residential loads are dumped, TCEM’s employees will sort out the blue bags and stage them for recovery. A covered recycling area with a sort-line and recyclables baler will be installed on site at the landfill for recovery of different commodities, and blue bags will be broken and their contents sorted in this material recovery facility. This is a simple and cost effective means of providing recycling service with only the additional cost of the blue recycling bags. Blue bags could be delivered by haulers when they run routes.
This is a recycling mechanism that has been implemented in multiple municipalities in the United States with great effectiveness. Through ongoing education programs participation will increase over time. As diversion and recovery rates increase, the airspace of the landfill is conserved and the overall long-term sustainability of the TCI’s solid waste system likewise increases.

Green waste composting
Loads of green waste that enter the facility will be segregated and moved to the recycling facility, where a shredder will be stationed to process the material. Once shredded, the material will be used as alternative daily cover or will be further processed into usable/marketable compost.
The operation will consist of conventional active windrow composting of green waste and high-organics content bypass materials from recycling activities such as green waste, wood waste and cardboard. Windrow composting is a process for producing organic material aerobically that generates heat that destroys pathogens and creates a compost product for use as mulch, soil conditioner and topsoil additive. The organic material is decomposed in open air, helped by watering and mechanical turning for air circulation.
Usable compost is a scarce commodity in the TCI. Thus, not only will this effort further reduce disposal volume and prolong the life of the landfill, but it will also generate a value-added resource for the local economy.
According to Tim Hodge, “This site has immense potential to put TCIG on a sustainable footing!” For instance, the methane formed during anaerobic breakdown of trash at the landfill can be used as a source of energy. Basically, methane gas could be collected and used to generate electricity. Further, given the size of the landfill, solar cells or photovoltaic panels which absorb sunlight and covert it into usable energy can also be installed. The waste oil from hotels can be converted to biofuels.
TCEM’s strategy is maintaining partnerships — partnership with the government and partnership with the communities. In this vein, TCEM maintains a close working relationship with Environmental Health Department Director Kenrick Neely through regular communication, monthly report and meetings. On October 20, 2013, TCEM held its first community briefing on Providenciales, where members of the Blue Hills community were invited inside the landfill site to see firsthand the progress made over the past 18 months. “This is a real public-private effort and that’s what countries like this need to do, particularly with sustainable environmental projects,” adds Hodge.

Global Green Consultants offers a complete range of cost-effective services in environmental impact assessments, environmental auditing and waste management plans. CEO Judith Garland-Campbell holds Master’s Degrees in Marine Resource and Environmental Management and Environmental Law and Policy from the University of the West Indies, and the University of Kent, UK, respectively. She has worked for over 20 years in the TCIG civil service, serving as Chief Scientific Officer, Director of National Parks, Director of Environment and Coastal Resources and Permanent Secretary. She has assessed and monitored projects such as the West Caicos development, cruise ship port and conch farm in Grand Turk, Leeward Beach renourishment project, Amanyara resort in Providenciales and Ambergis Cay development. GGC prides itself in having local knowledge of the Turks & Caicos Islands, but also draws on the experience of affiliated international firms.

For more information, visit globalgreentci.com

1 Comment

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Miles Scott-Brown
Apr 29, 2016 14:33

Dear Judith,
I found your name when I did a search for local consultants in the Turks and Caicos. We have found a project opportunity in T&C that our company IEL and proceed solutions would be well suited for. Can we initiate a discussion on this. I tried through Linked In but could not connect to you easily,

Look forward to hearing from you.

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