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  • By Mar-Vic Cagurangan

Court tells GovGuam to start landfill expansion project by July

The government of Guam is racing against time, with only a few weeks left before the two cells at Layon landfill in Inarajan hit their maximum capacity, thus the need for immediate expansion.

“In this regard, the court and the parties agree that the construction of cell 3 at the Layon landfill is a time-sensitive project,” Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood’s order stated.

“Construction of the new cell requires at least two dry seasons, which necessitates that construction begin as soon as possible and no later than July 2019.”

The project will be financed with proceeds from $30 million worth of general obligation bonds that Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero has been authorized to issue under the recently signed Public Law 35-21. Under the new law authored by Sen. Sabina Perez, the bonds are secured with tipping fee collections.

“The court strongly supports the government’s efforts to finance the construction of a new cell in this manner, especially since GSWA’s financial projections reflect no expected increase to the tipping fees as a result of this bond borrowing scheme and because there is limited air space remaining at the existing cells,” Tydingco-Gatewood said.

GovGuam officially took over the day-to-day operations of the local solid waste system on April 30, but the court has extended Gershman Brickner and Bratton’s receivership status pending completion of the post-closure plans for Ordot dump.

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During the transition period, the receiver is tasked to negotiate with the contractor for the construction of Cell 3, sign the contract on behalf of Guam Solid Waste Authority, oversee the project and facilitate the payment for services.

“As for meeting the federal regulations regarding financial assurances for post-closure care at the Ordot Dump, the parties have agreed to establish a trust fund to be administered by a RCRA compliant trustee. The parties have agreed on the process for selecting this trustee.”

Once the receivership is fully lifted, the Guam Environmental Protection Agency will be responsible for reviewing and approving invoices related to post-closure care of the Ordot Dump and for directing the trustee to pay approved invoices.

The court also ordered GBB to hire an independent engineer who will assist GEPA carry out its new responsibilities and provide the agency with “the technical expertise necessary to review and approve invoices post-receivership.”

Guam’s solid waste system was placed under federal receivership on March 17, 2008. This was the result of GovGuam’s failure to comply with the mandates of a consent decree that stemmed from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s lawsuit against GovGuam over the poorly managed Ordot Dump in violation of the Clean Water Act.


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