Speaking in separate interviews, Sen. Sixto K. Igisomar (R-Saipan) and Public Works Secretary James Ada said they are working on several projects that would ease the problems at the dumpsite and increase its lifespan.
Igisomar said he would push for the recycling program and a proper solid waste management plan just like what the Republic of Palau is doing. “Recycling, that’s another subject matter that I’ve been working with DPW and [director] Peter Camacho.”
“With the solid waste, go explore what Palau is doing right with respect to recycling. How they are doing it? But I’m not there yet and we have not finalized any form of commitment or plan of action,” Igisomar added.
Igisomar chairs the Senate Public Utilities, Transportation, and Communications Committee.
He said that his committee and DPW have often discussed recycling and other solid waste management programs. “We’re discussing how we can put up a recycling program that actually works…so we could minimize anything that goes into our landfill. It is an option and also a priority of DPW. I know this is something that Secretary Ada and director Camacho have been exploring heavily.”
Ada echoed Igisomar, saying his department has been working with the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. on the waste-to-energy program. He is hoping the project would go through since it would help increase the Marpi landfill’s lifespan.
“We’re working with our team and meeting with CUC to negotiate with the project. The lifespan of the cells at the landfills would increase because of this waste-to-energy project. That is one that we need here,” said Ada.
He added Saipan and Tinian would need additional energy sources once all hotels and other establishment that are in development and construction stages begin their respective operations.
“ [Imperial Pacific Resort] has not opened yet. We also have the Honest Profit and Ocean Vista projects. There’s also impending trash from Tinian once Alter City and other projects begin there,” Ada said.
He said that oil and gas generated from the waste-to-energy project could be used for generators and other vehicles. “We’re going to meet more with CUC. We’re prepared already and we wanted to issue a contract.”
“The lifespan of the landfill needs to increase. That is one of the issues that we’re confronting and it has given us headaches,” added Ada.
The waste-to-energy program involves high quality recycling and the use of residual waste for efficient and clean source of energy.
Ada said they are also hoping the Legislature would heed their request for $5.5 million so they could begin lining Cell 3 of the Marpi landfill. “Cell 1 is at maximum capacity and we’re already using its slope. We have already lined Cell 2.
“That’s why we briefed the Legislature [last week] on why we need the $5.5 million and that is to line Cell 3. We need the funds since the project is not cheap.”
He added the trash and debris left after the onslaught of Typhoon Soudelor on Saipan on Aug. 2, 2015, coupled by the recent construction activities would fill up the space of cells 1 and 2.
“That is why it is important for us to start lining Cell 3. Cell 1 is reaching its cap and we’re utilizing Cell 2,” said Ada.
“The $5.5 million would help alleviate the landfill problem. I thank the Senate for hearing our concerns, and also Gov. [Ralph DLG] Torres and Lt. Gov. [Victor B.] Hocog. They [governor and lieutenant governor] are very much aware of the landfill issue.”
They also meet with the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality and the operator of the landfill almost everyday. “We’re working diligently to rectify all administrative orders that were issued to DPW and cited by BECQ on the landfill, and also foir the Tinian and Rota dumpsites.”