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Layon landfill ready to open

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by Mindy Aguon

Guam - With a deadline to close the gates of the Ordot Dump once and for all just about a month away, the federal receiver says it is ahead of schedule to open the new landfill. The new landfill is ready for the island's solid waste, but the receiver is waiting on the completion of bridges before the first load of trash can be sent to Dandan.

The Layon Landfill is complete and ready to start collecting trash - that's the word from federal receiver representative David Manning. While there are still a few odds and ends to be sorted out, manning says the new landfill could have opened last month had the bridge repairs and renovations leading to Dandan were completed. "The bridges are still remain the issue," he noted, "but DPW continues to assure the court and us that they will be ready and while it's very tight, we hope and believe they are correct and they will be ready."

The first two phases of the new landfill are completed as well the infrastructure on the property for future cells has already been laid out. While the receiver had originally projected the Layon Landfill and the access roads to cost upwards of $119 million, Manning says it appears the final cost will be about $38 million less, and closer to $81 million.

He attributes the savings to several things, explaining, "We benefited from the fact that petroleum prices went down because the liner systems have a lot of petroleum product in them so that was one beneficial thing. Just the fact that the recession also made the contractor community much more aggressive in terms of bidding for work because there was less work out there."

Manning says the delay in the military buildup also contributed to the cost savings, as construction companies that had geared up for the expansion had excess capacity.  He adds the receiver also took careful consideration to competitively bid the projects to get the most savings for the people of Guam.

While District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco Gatewood has ordered that the gates of the Ordot Dump be closed for good by August 31 - when she is scheduled to have another status hearing and a site visit to Ordot - the receiver's work is hardly over.

Manning says an investigation must be conducted to determine how much pollution and environmental damage has been done to the property and the surrounding area. "In addition to that there will be a very comprehensive process in designing the final closure. For example, what to do with the leachate," said Manning.

"First of all you have to design a system to collect the leachate unlike Layon, where there is a liner extensive liner system that is put in underneath where the waste will go, there's nothing under Ordot."

Manning says the USEPA will have to approve the design to capture the landfill gas and leachate and a method to properly cap the Ordot Dump - something that isn't expected to happen for another two to three years.

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