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Landfill Fire under Control

The fire which began at the George Town Landfill last weekend is under control officials say.

Department of Environmental Health (DEH) Landfill staff first noticed smoke on Saturday 19 July at around 10.30 a.m. in the municipal solid waste disposal area at the edge of the landfill. Acting Chief Fire Officer Roy Grant noted that upon arrival, fire crews found flames. The landfill's berm was dug about 200 feet, and multiple areas were discovered on fire, whilst the excavator overturned the debris.

Teams from DEH and the Fire Department have been working around the clock to keep the fire contained. Efforts included completely saturating the area that is believed to be the source of the fire. As of midday Wednesday 23 July, the area that was excavated continues to burn, but is controlled.

Apologising for any inconvenience, Dr Maysson Sallam, Assistant Director of the Department of Environmental Health, notes that since the last such incident, deep wells have been strategically placed around the landfill site.

This allows the Fire Department to access a continuous source of water and to control the fire quickly and more efficiently, she explained.

The department has also purchased water pumps which will be arriving on Island shortly. The department has also ordered other much-needed landfill equipment to help optimise operations. In addition, the department has in the interim rented two excavators that it can use to turn over the waste to help identify the source of heat.

While the fire continues senior DEH and Fire Service staff and equipment are making regular visits to the scene. Health Minister Hon Osbourne Bodden, who visited the landfill on Sunday 19 July, also has expressed his appreciation of efforts by the Department of Environmental Health and Fire Service crews.

Meanwhile the Ministry of Health reports that it is making headway with an integrated solid waste management solution that will address the landfill situation, and other waste management concerns, in the long term.

A number of bids to develop the Cayman Islands first solid waste management strategy, an outline business case, and to provide procurement support for a solid waste management system, have been received and are being reviewed.

Minister Osbourne Bodden urged the public to have patience as Government moves through the necessary processes to find a sustainable solution for the waste management issue.

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For further information contact: Yvette Cacho