WMA Plans Anguilla Landfill Closure at Annual Meeting

Waste Management board members Norbert Rosado, Keith Richards and Daphne Harley discuss business Thursday. (Source photo by Susan Ellis)

The board of the V.I. Waste Management Authority Thursday started a weekend annual meeting discussing plans to shut down the St. Croix Anguilla Landfill in the next two years. In 2018, the federal government ordered the landfill to close.

Earlier in the week, it was announced that WMA hired Oasis Consulting Services to help close the landfill over the next year or two.

On Thursday, Keith Richards, Waste Management chairman, said the board will discuss the staff plan throughout the weekend but no action will be taken yet.

“There will be no approval without an evaluation report. This project is huge and important to the Authority,” he said, inviting the staff to present their ideas.

Ann Hanley, acting chief operating officer, and Heather Daley, chief financial officer, said the plan would take around two years and involve three forms of waste disposal to comply with the Federal Aviation Agency and the Environmental Protection Agency. They said the Authority will petition the court in March for more time, and Daley thinks they could get up to a year leniency.

The plan would employ composting for green waste, bundling and shipping metal waste off island and crushing construction materials such as concrete. Daley said the V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources would partner with WMA with a $6 million grant that includes purchasing a shredder and other equipment.

In response to questioning from the board, Daley said the plan is not being used anywhere in the United States, but is similar to the way cruise ships deal with waste. She said Japan and some South American countries use similar procedures.

Board member Norbert Rosado said there is not enough information about the technology and operations to approve a plan.

“If you’re going to go with this system, you have to look at the nuts and bolts,” he said, adding that a civil engineer should be hired.

The board also approved several items Thursday, including a more than $857,000 purchase of three standby generators. Staff members pointed out that the brand they are buying was recommended by FEMA and is sturdier and more robust than those used daily. The board already approved almost $600,000 for generators. The additional purchase was approved with the contingency that the staff obtain warranties.

The board also approved $110,000 for “wet well cleaning” and a sludge gate modification at the Lagoon pump station. Hanley pointed out that the Authority is out of federal compliance at the pump station until the cleaning is completed.

There was a short discussion Thursday of tipping fees approved by the Public Services Commission and scheduled to go into effect at the end of March. Septic waste haulers will be charged between $13.34 per galleon to $75.58 a galleon for disposal based on waste strength. Solid waste disposal fees will run from $31.28 a ton to $65.26 per ton.

Hanley read the annual report since Adrian Taylor, WMA director, was out sick.

Waste Management’s funding comes from the General Fund, except capital expenditures that are funded by federal grants. Funds budgeted for 2020 included $9,699,584 for personnel; $3,961,496 for fringe benefits; $797,544 for supplies; $14,139,064 for other services and charges and $2,755,179 for utilities.

Attending the meeting were Richards, Rosado, Daphne Harley and Nelson Petty, Jr. on the phone for the first half of the meeting.

The annual meeting will continue Friday and Saturday at the Divi Carina Bay Casino Banquet Center.