Cell 1 of Marpi landfill almost full

DPW looking at using cell two

The enormous amount of trash and debris that was collected and is still being collected in the aftermath of Typhoon Soudelor is rapidly filling up Saipan’s landfill in Marpi.

“Right now, Cell 1 is almost at capacity,” Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality administrator Frank Rabauliman told Saipan Tribune.

The Department of Public Works, which manages the landfill, noted that the storm shortened the capacity of the cell, said Rabauliman.

“The life of that cell, it was estimated that it’s seven months out before it was filled, but now it has been shortened significantly,” he said.

According to Rabauliman, DPW is now looking at using Cell 2.

The landfill’s Cell 1 and Cell 2 are both lined, but before Cell 2 can be utilized, safety measures must made for Cell 3—which is unlined.

“Once they’re using Cell 2, they’ve got to be very careful because if leachate fills up at Cell 2, there’s a risk that it would go to Cell 3, and Cell 3 is not lined, and it could percolate down to the ground water, which is the worst thing you want to see,” Rabauliman said.

Leachate is the liquid that percolates through a landfill and has picked up dissolved, suspended, and/or microbial contaminants from the waste.

“BECQ wants to ensure that there is no leachate that would go from Cell 2 to the unlined Cell 3,” Rabauliman said. “That leachate cannot go into an unlined area.”

To be able to use Cell 2, DPW would need to build a termination berm that would prevent leachate from going from Cell 2 to the unlined Cell 3, Rabauliman said.

He said that DPW, through a change order, is working on the termination berm, which could be finished in about 60 to 90 days.

However, lining Cell 3 would eventually need to be done, although funding would also be needed for that.

“It’s needed that they line Cell 3 because at some point Cell 2 will be filled,” Rabauliman said.

Frauleine S. Villanueva-Dizon | Reporter
Frauleine Michelle S. Villanueva was a broadcast news producer in the Philippines before moving to the CNMI to pursue becoming a print journalist. She is interested in weather and environmental reporting but is an all-around writer. She graduated cum laude from the University of Santo Tomas with a degree in Journalism and was a sportswriter in the student publication.

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