The Marine Forces Pacific lately held an ad hoc committee meeting with the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality, Environmental Protection Agency, Tinian Mayor’s Office, Department of Public Works and Administration agents at the BECQ office on Middle Road to map out the directions to take relating to this potential solid waste solutions beneficial for both the military and the civilian inhabitants.
In light of this ongoing National Environmental Policy Act process on the construction of ranges and training areas on Tinian, the Marine Forces Pacific examined these choices and discussed these with the CNMI.
In analyzing these choices, the U.S. military held the premise that the present dumpsite situated at Puntan Diablo on Tinian — the area where the Chinese group of investors is planning to grow in an integrated hotel — will be shut and a transfer station is being considered.
MARFORPAC environmental specialist Sherri Eng said the dumpsite isn’t something that the military will be able to use.
Only by taking a look at the requirements and the benefits of the options explored, Eng said that the simplest are the off-island disposal.”
In choosing the off-island disposal alternative, the parties will have to check in the capability of the Marpi landfill to adapt the waste coming from Tinian — both military and civilian waste.
Eng, in a meeting with the regional regulatory officials and agencies walked them through the 3 systems being considered.
She stated that this system could cause significant waste reduction and energy production.
However, there are challenges to be met: siting and permitting, preserving consistent operations, the demand for waste and sorting monitoring, high first price, high maintenance cost and deadline for construction.
“Construction timeline is extended. It is not something that we can set up tomorrow,” said Eng.
Department of Public Works Secretary Martin C. Sablan mentioned about the CNMI getting an incinerator which it never used because of the problem of permitting through the regulatory agencies.
“Permitting was a issue,” said Sablan.
Choice 2: Fukuoka Landfill
The Fukuoka landfill is a new approach to handling solid waste. It is a semi-aerobic landfill with a leachate gathering pipe set up at the landfill floor that drains the leachate to a treatment facility.
This method does not require a synthetic lining.
But if that were to be pursued, Tinian will require an extra 15 hectares and the usage of certain construction material.
The MARFORPAC agents said they’ve conducted research on this particular method.
It was performed in Palau, Yap and American Samoa but nowhere else in the continental United States due to permitting.
“We have to find some type of waiver,” said Eng mentioning it isn’t a permitted system from the U.S.
However with Fukuoka method, there’s a potential to convert the existing dumpsite on Tinian.
As for leachate, the military is contemplating to upsize its waste water treatment center to adapt this if this would be the option to consider.
Since the Fukuoka landfill may require clay, Eng said their research showed the deficiency of the material on Tinian; however, it was suggested there’s a supply in Papago.
Choice 3: Off-island disposal
This alternative proposes to use the existing Marpi landfill.
With this option, Eng stated there will be no extra land requirements.
She explained this centralizes waste management program on Saipan.
But Eng was quick to point out that one of the challenges is how to manage the perception that Saipan becomes a dumping ground.
The military sees the need to upgrade shipping infrastructure.
“We are eager to accept military waste,” said DPW Secretary Martin C. Sablan.
He explained that they had excavated the floor to assemble the third cell of the landfill facility.
With this option, Eng assured that”anything we do, we are going to take the Tinian squander with us.”
Asked by DPW if the military were to foot the bill for shipping and transfer of this waste, Eng stated,”We agree to find the solution and expect to find the solution.” She explained she could not commit to anything.
Sablan said it’ll cost less for the military to deliver their waste to Saipan but the municipality will be needing assistance.
Feasibility study for three choices?
Eng pointed out that the choices needs to be brought down to two.
“I do not think we’ve got the time and cash to do all three,” she explained.
Transfer station is vital
As they mulled the prospective solutions to Tinian’s solid waste issues, Eng stated it is supposed that there’ll be a transfer station.
“Transfer station is important in these sytems,” she explained.
Closure of this dumpsite
Tinian Mayor Ramon M. Dela Cruz pointed out It Is not the responsibility of the developer to close the Present dumpsite at Puntan Diablo.
He, however, stated that Alter City has dedicated to supplying around $5 million in support.
Mayor Dela Cruz stated three years will be reasonable.
“That will permit the developer to work on the adjoining property,” he explained.
Alter City Group is proposing to build a golf course at the present site of the dumpsite.
Alter City dedicated to assist
At a hearing prior to the CNMI legislature a week, Alter City’s legal counsel Rober Torres stated,”Investor is prompted to assist in its elimination.”
“That will allow the developer to work on the adjacent property,” he said.
Alter City Group is proposing to build a golf course at the current site of the dumpsite.
Alter City committed to assist
At a hearing before the CNMI legislature last week, Alter City’s legal counsel Rober Torres said, “Investor is motivated to assist in its removal.”
But he said the government too has to pitch in.