The Senate committees on Fiscal Affairs and Public Utilities, Transportation, and Communications held separate public meetings to address the issues regarding the CNMI’s landfills, particularly the one in Marpi.
Senate Fiscal Affairs Committee chair Jude U. Hofschneider (R-Tinian), said the Department of Public Works has requested the CNMI Legislature’s assistance in the construction of Cell 3 of the Marpi landfill, which would be done in phases.
DPW Secretary James A. Ada sent a letter to legislative leaders about this.
“The biggest thing that we need to focus on right now is to address DPW’s request. It is urgent where they need funding to prepare Cell 3. [DPW would need], their initial assessment, $5.5 million based on their letter,” said Hofschneider.
The money that DPW is asking for would fund the lining of Cell 3 and would also address the other needs of the Marpi landfill.
Sen. SIxto K. Igisomar (R-Saipan), who chairs the Public Utilities, Transportation, and Communications Committee, said that DPW would take about 21 to 22 months to prepare Cell 3 once they get the funds for the project.
“Cell 3 is filling up quickly at a really fast pace. At least an average of 80 to 120 tons of garbage are going to Cell 1 and [DPW] really needs to align Cell 3, so they could start filling up Cell 2,” said Igisomar.
“Eventually, the slope coming from Cell 1, the debris would slide down to Cell 2. Cell 3 is urgent, it is an emergency, and they need to get the funding. That’s why we held a meeting so that people can hear what’s happening in our landfill,” added Igisomar.
He added they called in Ada so they could have a better understanding of the situation and their request for $5.5 million to fund the project.
“[The project] has three to four phases in there. It has to do with the architecture/engineering design, then [request for proposals], and the hiring of a construction management [team],” said Igisomar, who added that that would already cost $100,000.
Ada, in his letter, said they are requesting for financial assistance to prepare Cell 3 of the Marpi landfill with the project to be done in phases. He added the project is an urgent need with the rapid development of Saipan.
“It appears that Saipan’s economy is moving quickly in a vibrant and positive direction. And with all the proposed hotels in the planning and construction stages, it means more waste will be generated from [construction and designs], tourism, and guests. Eventually, [the trash] would end up at the landfill,” said Ada.
“As you may be aware of, the present outlook for Saipan’s waste disposal infrastructure capacity, which needs to be expanded for our growing economic activity, is diminishing at a rapid rate, and Cell 1 has reached its final fill stage and in desperate need to expand to Cell 2.”
He added that the need to begin construction of Cell 3 would prevent the migration of leachate or contaminants into the groundwater from Cell 2 to the unlined Cell 3.