What are the implications of closing the Dededo Transfer Station?
It's been a long road since a federal receivership was put in charge of Guam's waste management. And while it was supposed to end this December, that may not be the case due to a court decision made by Chief Judge Frances Tydingco Gatewood this Monday.
Guam EPA director Eric Palacios told KUAM News, "I am somewhat satisfied with the order that came out because the court granted a request that we had made, which was to close the Dededo Transfer Station."
The closure of the most heavily used transfer station in Guam is needed to save an estimated $3 million that would otherwise be needed to bring the facility into compliance. However, an additional $4.3 million is still needed to provide upgrades to transfer stations in Agat and Malojloj - projects the federal receiver was ordered to fund through its special account. The closure of the most heavily used transfer station is needed to save an estimated $3 million, which would otherwise be needed to bring the facility into compliance.
This calls the existing December timeline into question, especially with the anticipation of additional projects. For example, both the Dededo and Agat sites have fallen victim to illegal dumping over the years and in March 2014, an environmental site assessment found significant hazardous waste at the Dededo facility. "The contamination has not spread down into the subsurface, which ultimately means that our ground water is still safe," he said.
However cleanup of these stations is needed, and could require a significant investment on top of the budgeted $4.3 million. Palacios said the EPA is building a case to hold those responsible for the waste accountable for the cleanup, noting, "That shouldn't be something that the taxpayers of Guam should shoulder." However, the matter is still under investigation.
While the Dededo station is set to close by June 30th, the Harmon station will continue operations.