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The use of a compost centre as an emergency landfill site could be eased after emergency repairs were completed at the Tynes Bay incinerator.
Wayne Furbert, the Acting Minister of Public Works, said that the incinerator had started to work through a backlog to limit the need to bury trash at the Marsh Folly site in Pembroke.
In a statement last night, Mr Furbert added: “Thanks to the hard work put in by the Tynes Bay Waste to Energy Facility, successful repairs have been carried out and one of the plant boilers is operational and this morning it resumed the process of incinerating the backlog of waste.
“I can also advise that the replacement parts critical to operating the bailing machine were successfully installed, allowing for the output of approximately 70 bales.
“The team at Tynes Bay are now aggressively clearing the contents of the dumping hall to divert residential waste from the Marsh Folly site.”
People who live and work near Marsh Folly complained earlier about a “constant” stream of trucks as trash was dumped over this week.
Machines including diggers were also in operation at the Pembroke site.
Mr Furbert said last Friday that failing parts at the Tynes Bay Incinerator meant there were few options for dealing with trash.
He told the House of Assembly: “As such, the ministry is now preparing for its last resort for waste disposal – and that it is reopening a portion of Marsh Folly for landfilling.”
Piles of what looked like household and bulky waste were seen at a site beside Perimeter Lane, off The Glebe Road, yesterday morning.
A resident said she did not know what was happening when machines started “ploughing” the site about two weeks ago.
She later learnt about Mr Furbert’s statement, when he told MPs that supply chain problems had slowed repairs to the Tynes Bay.
The resident said: “For a week now trucks are going in one after another, dumping trash there.”
She added: “Round here you always hear a lot of activity because they’re always doing things up here with the equipment, but for the last week it’s constant.
“They’re doing what they need to do.
“In a way it concerns me, but I guess because whatever equipment is not working over there, they had to … bring it here – this is what we have to deal with.”
The woman said: “It’s a lot of noise but at the same time, I can’t complain at what they have to do.”
A caregiver who looks after a resident in the area said that the site was earlier overgrown with vegetation.
She added: “They were clearing it out, then they put it in a pile.
“Then they started bringing the trash.”
The woman added: “It’s a constant barrage of trucks in and out, big ones too … they never came down there before that.”
Mr Furbert said that the capacity of the single operational boiler would be “closely monitored” because the incinerator was in urgent need of equipment, including a new hydraulic system for the bailing machine.
He added: “Unfortunately, however, the equipment is currently on back-order overseas.
“Engineers and staff at Tynes Bay will be updating the ministry daily over the next week, and we will ensure that area residents are updated on the progress in a timely manner.”
Mr Furbert said efforts were made to minimise the amount of landfilling at Marsh Folly and assured residents that the ministry would ensure the work was done with “minimal environmental impact”.
He added: “I will personally tour the facility to receive an update from key personnel at the Tyne's Bay facility and will subsequently update the public.
“I think it should be stressed that the challenges at the Tynes Bay waste facility are in large part due to the significant and woeful lack of investment and management by the previous administration.
“However I can assure Bermuda that we are working swiftly and diligently to address the problems that we inherited.”Dumping at Marsh Folly (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Mr Furbert earlier warned that repairs to the plant could cost up to $10 million and it would take about 11 weeks for the two boilers to be fixed.
Mr Furbert added: “While this may seem like a lot of money, for comparison, the cost of full replacement, which is what we really need at this point, is closer to $150 million.
“And, to be clear, the $10 million we are planning to spend now only addresses the boilers, which are at the heart of the plant and the most vulnerable at this time.”