Incineration plant has Lake’s full attention

POSTED: 07/19/13 11:57 AM

Dutch Trade Mission

Minister of Infrastructure Lake meets members of the visiting Dutch trade mission on the landfill on Pond Island. To his left are Operational Manager Edelmiro Jansen and Acting Secretary-General Miguel de Weever. Photo Today / Leo Brown

St. Maarten – The waste incinerator has Minister of Infrastructure Lake’s “full attention.” Lake was on hand at the landfill on the Great Salt Pond to brief the visiting Dutch trade mission about St. Maarten’s future plans for garbage disposal. He said he wanted “to finalize the whole process within my term.” The plant was initially scheduled to be completed by 2016; however, the minister is pushing for total completion by 2015, a year earlier than scheduled as the situation at the landfill cannot continue indefinitely.

Minister Lake said Edelmiro Jansen, operational manager at the site, did a “super job of explaining the history” of the landfill to the visiting trade mission. Jansen explained that the fill was initially started in the 70s but grew significantly in the aftermath of hurricane Luis. He said that there was not much separation of garbage except perhaps for rubber tires and scrap metal. He also pointed out to the delegation the area that is currently being prepared for the future site of the waste incinerator.

Secretary-General Brown of the Ministry of Infrastructure was also on hand and explained to the Dutch businessmen that the bidding process for the plant was underway but the government needed special assistance in assessing the bids as it is a complicated project with far reaching consequences. A third party consulting firm is assisting. Currently, four multi-national companies are in the running and their proposals will need to be carefully scrutinized and evaluated.

Once built, the intention is to have the landfill reduced over time. The operators of the plant will be given the concession to mine the fill and process the garbage buried in it, thereby increasing the size of the Great Salt Pond. The concession will be for 25 years, Brown said. He also said the incinerator will be “killing two birds with one stone” as it will both reduce the landfill size and generate electricity from the island’s garbage.

In the future, the French side of the island will also be able to send its waste to the facility where it will be converted into electricity and sold back to Gebe. The plant will meet existing EU safety and environmental standards, Brown assured the trade mission.

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