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Environmental Review Results Released

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AMEC Foster Wheeler Environment & Infrastructure UK Ltd., the consultancy team that was commissioned by the Cayman Islands Government (CIG) to prepare and assist in the delivery of a National Solid Waste Management Strategy (NSWMS), for the Cayman Islands, has completed a Landfill Site Environmental Review report on the Cayman Islands' landfills.

Jim Schubert, Senior Project Manager for the Integrated Solid Waste Management System (ISWMS) advised that the report has been produced as a deliverable associated with Phase 1 of the National Solid Waste Management Strategy (NSWMS) for the Cayman Islands. It comprises Task 2: Environmental investigations and updated risk assessments for the three operational landfill sites, located on the islands.

The report follows on from Task 1: Environmental review (February 2015) which was a review of existing environmental information and initial risk assessment. The Task 1: Environmental Review provided a series of recommendations for targeted risk based environmental sampling and monitoring which formed the basis of the Task 2 fieldwork; the factual data for which is reported separately. This report is an interpretation of data from both the recent environmental investigation and historical data where appropriate. Environmental risk assessments from the Task 1 Environmental review have been updated based on the Task 2 investigation data.

The bulk of the Task 2 environmental investigation work took place at the main landfill site, the George Town Landfill. It included the monitoring of existing and new groundwater wells, surface water and sediment sampling in canals/dykes surrounding the site and in North Sound, and dust, odour and landfill gas monitoring. Samples of vegetation surrounding the landfill, and also from within North Sound, were taken for analysis. Historical monitoring data for groundwater and surface waters has also been considered within the interpretation of environmental effects.

Groundwater monitoring wells were installed and sampled at Cayman Brac landfill together with sampling of surface waters and monitoring and sampling of landfill gas. At Little Cayman landfill soil and surface water sampling was undertaken. There was no significant pre-existing environmental monitoring data for the two sister island landfills.

AMEC Foster Wheeler Environment & Infrastructure UK Ltd. noted that this environmental data was collated and screened, primarily against Florida state clean-up assessment criteria for waters and soils. Landfill gas monitoring and analysis was undertaken on the George Town and Cayman Brac sites and based on the collected data, air quality modelling has been undertaken for the George Town site. Amenity related issues have also been considered for each site; these are hazards such as dust, landfill fires and nutrients in waters for which there are no direct assessment criteria.

In the interim, the Cayman Islands Government (CIG) continues with the development of a national solid waste management strategy (NSWMS), which will be fully developed and its implementation commenced by the 2017/2018 year. The NSWMS will address and seek to mitigate the key risks identified in this report and in current waste management practices. Until the NSWMS is developed, the CIG urges members of the public do their best to follow the Waste Hierarchy model (reduce, reuse, recycle, recover before disposing) to reduce the amount of trash being sent to the landfills. Recycling and reusing items and home composting of yard and food waste is instrumental to diverting waste away from landfills.

The public can obtain further information, on this review, by doing the following:-

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