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New landfill will be ready next summer

by Nick Delgado

Guam - Federal receiver Gershman, Brickner & Bratton says the island's new landfill in Layon will be ready for use by next summer. However, officials admit that there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to meet the demands of the feds and close out the consent decree.

There are only 351 days of airspace left at the Ordot Dump. But the announcement during today's status hearing in the U.S. District Court of Guam from GBB special principal associate David Manning was that Ordot will be closed this time next year.  "When we talk about the closure of the Ordot dump, as required by federal law and the consent decree, it means to go in and do a lot of work and actually reshape that dump to cap it properly so that there are no more problems with it ever," he stated.

Manning says the closure would only mean that no one would be allowed to dump their trash there. He says GBB would need at least $40 million more to have the property environmentally safe.  He continued, "We have to understand the parameters, we have to understand what's in that dump and then design systems to effectuate minimizing and mitigating the environmental damage."

With even less time is the contract for the construction of the Layon landfill., 276 days to be exact, officials today visited the new landfill site. While looking at the new administrative buildings, paved roads as well as the six-foot liner system for the two sub cells, it's the road and bridge construction projects along the Talofofo, Togcha, and Ylig Bridge that might draw some frustration for motorists by the end of this year.

Department of Public Works Director Andy Leon Guerrero said, "I'm sure there will be delays; anytime you have a road project you will have delays especially with the bridge project, so I just tell the motorists to be aware of that."

Meanwhile, more concerns brought before the court were the lack of payments being made for the new trash services. Manning says 2,600 customers are currently delinquent and another 900 have late payments and are close to being delinquent. The problem has prompted the receiver to develop policies now awaiting the court and Public Utilities Commission approval to weed out the lack of payments.

"If service is discontinued we will cut their services off, we will collect the cart back and it will not only cost them the amount that they owe but it will cost them some additional fees," he said.  

Manning also mentioned the potential threat that may happen if customers like village mayors are allowed free service. He feels the Legislature should appropriate funding for those exemptions to prevent more increases in tipping fees as well as a delay in paying back bonds.  "When something's free, people want a lot of it and that potential is there because there a lot of bonds that have to be repaid and there are large responsibilities will have for not only future cells, but for closing cells properly and for maintaining those cells," he told KUAM News.

Despite these issues, manning does say that the new landfill we be operating by the summer of 2011. He also says the upgrades include access improvements, underground power, and new sewer lines for residents in the area of the landfill.

GBB is also putting together a pilot project with recycle trash carts. The receivers are also implementing a metallic and bulky item collection program for residents in the coming months.

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