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Updates on Solid Waste Division

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - It's been over six months since the Ordot Dump closed and today federal receiver Gershman, Brickner and Bratton provided court with its progress report including ongoing testing and an financial update of the Solid Waste Authority, along with efforts to permanently cap off the facility.

The work continues in order to comply with the Ordot consent decree and today GBB ensured District Court of Guam Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood that not only are efforts ongoing to ensure the Ordot Dump isn't a source of future pollution but that the Layon landfill is operating accordingly and that Solid Waste Authority customers are served in a timely and cost-effective manner.

GBB's special principal associate David Manning said, "We continue to be very pleased with the work of the collections crews. They're collecting 99.7% of all of the pickups that they're supposed to make on time. We are also seeing a substantial improvement in the number of delinquent customers, which is always an issue."

However, manning says GBB is still faced with several challenges from the extensive amount of testing needed to understand the possible contamination out there along with beginning to meet with the Solid Waste Authority's board of directors that Governor Eddie Calvo recently appointed along with working with the court on the curbside recycling program and the possibility of expanding it to all residential customers.

And as we previously reported, the military came on board as customer in October, which would have resulted in lower rates. Manning says although he can't contribute it entirely to the pause in the military buildup, the amount of waste collected has been substantially lower. "The rates are improved by the military being on board, but they're not improved as much as we had hoped they would be simply because of the amount of waste the military is bringing in is a lot lower," he explained.

He adds the military is seeking an amendment within their contract with the respect to the quantities they had originally estimated. Meanwhile, Manning also discussed rate recommendations to the Public Utilities Commission should Guam proceed with a second landfill - something he says Guam doesn't need. It would cost GovGuam millions more annually.

"And if they do permit it, we will have no alternative but to cut the rates to ensure that the facilities that are already here and remain competitive - and that will cost the Government of Guam $12 million a year," Manning stated. Ultimately, Manning says it's the receiver's responsibility to cleanup the site, and not only completely close the dump but cap it off - something he says would cost an estimated $40 million and would take a year or so until they complete a design and construction process. 

The next status hearing is set for July 18. 

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