Closure of Ordot Dump projected before New Year's - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Closure of Ordot Dump projected before New Year's

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Nine years after the federal government stepped in to enforce environmental regulations and to shut down the Ordot Dump, the closure is finally expected to be completed by late-December. That was one of the highlights of a report provided today to Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood in a status hearing at the US District Court.

The semi-annual progress report was submitted by federal receiver Gershman, Brickner & Bratton - the company appointed by the court to oversee the closure, and the opening of a new landfill at Layon. While operations at Ordot ended when Layon opened four years ago, work to make Ordot environmentally safe continued. That work includes preventing leachate from seeping into the soil, and potentially harmful gas emissions from being released into the air.

GBB reports that from January to June of this year, 2.5 million gallons - four Olympic-size pools worth of so-called "garbage juice" - was diverted to the Guam Waterworks Authority's Agana Treatment Plant.  And the equivalent of 490,000 metric tons of methane and carbon dioxide were contained in a pipe system. Other work includes installing synthetic lining and coral cover to contain the slopes.

But the final closure of Ordot does not mean an end to this decades long saga of the Guam solid waste system. There is still the matter of returning control to the local government.

Chief Judge Gatewood indicated the transfer cannot proceed without assurances of continuing financial viability. There has been an often-contentious relationship between Adelup and the federal receiver over costs associated with  Layon - and there may be another battle looming.

GBB presented a financial plan, which pegs the costs for the post closure monitoring at Ordot, for future opening and closing of cells at Layon, and related projects at $41 million. GBB says a monthly set-aside of $375,000 in a special reserve fund will cover it, "if properly managed," it added. GBB wants a trustee to oversee the money going forward.

In response, Attorney General Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson requested three weeks to submit GovGuam's financial plan.  She also asked the court to give her until December 21 to come up with their recommended timeline for the transfer of control.

GBB also reports that all land acquisition is complete for the Ordot closure and compensation paid to landowners. Likewise, more than 80 percent owed to former Layon landowners has also been paid.

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