||Last Updated: Feb 6, 2018 - 10:46:40 PM
Environment & Housing Minister, Romauld Ferreira addressed the House of Assembly on January 31st, 2018 on need for adequate equipment for DEHS to fight landfill fires; and remediation solutions to stop the eruption of fires at the New Providence Sanitary Landfill, that started on Saturday, January 27th, 2018. (BIS file photo)
NASSAU, The Bahamas -- The Minister of the Environment & Housing, the Hon. Romauld Ferreira, stated in the House of Assembly, January 31, that his Ministry is working to produce a new investor and owner to remediate the New Providence Sanitary Landfill. He gave an update on the progress made to date in the selection of such an investor.
Minister Ferreira said: “Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for this opportunity to report to the Bahamian people on the recent fire that occurred at the New Providence Sanitary Landfill, and the progress of the request for proposals.
“Without contest, it is agreed by most Bahamians that the issues faced at the New Providence Sanitary Landfill is one of the most vexing problems our nation has faced in recent years. Now is not the time to reach for low hanging fruit and bask in a series of short term solutions that lead us right back to square one. Now is the time to have courage to carry out the work required to bring lasting effects for all involved,” said Minister Ferreira.
“In keeping with this philosophy, the Ministry of the Environment and Housing has been feverishly working to implement the long term strategy that will lead to literally breaking up or deconstructing the present structure of the Landfill, and correcting or remediating the problems that lie therein. The ultimate goal is to have the site operated congruent with international standards for a Sanitary Landfill.”
Minister Ferreira detailed the criteria that the new investor must meet in order to qualify to answer the needs of the Landfill.
He said, “Following the Government’s directive, the Ministry of the Environment and Housing is mandated to find an investor who will manage services for the deconstruction and remediation of the site. It is expected that the investor will provide-
* The requisite financing needed to sustain operations;
* Technical support in all project phases -- from inception to construction of Landfill improvements;
* A plan to deconstruct and remediate the Landfill facility;
* And an overall system that will be more attractive, while developing a sustainable system.”
Minister Ferreira also went into detail with a list of the job description duties, assignments, and responsibilities of the potential investor, who will also be identified as the new owner of the Landfill.
“The potential investor will be responsible for carrying out the following assignments at the Landfill:
* Financing waste management operations;
* Operation of the Landfill site;
* Sustaining waste management upgrades and extending coverage to mitigate fires and reduce the rodent population;
* Generation of revenue from waste management services;
* And stakeholder relationship management.
“Mr. Speaker, you would recall that a press statement was released on June 1st, 2017, that conveyed the short and long term goals of the Government to address the challenges and remediate the Landfill. One of the short-term goals of the Government was to issue a new RFP for the management of the entire site,” said Minister Ferreira.
In addition, he also pointed out to the Members of the Honourable House that the Tenders Board at the Ministry of Finance received several proposals, collected from potential investors competing in this exercise to be named the new owner of the Landfill.
“In a press conference in November of last year, I advised the Bahamian public that on November 16th, 2017 the Expressions of Interest (EOI) for the potential investment and management services relating to the Deconstruction, Remediation, and Operation of the New Providence Sanitary Landfill, which we were advised to do, was published in the daily newspapers. The closing date was announced as December 15th, 2018. The submissions were opened at the Tenders Board at the Ministry of Finance on January 3rd, 2018. A total of 18 companies expressed interest in investing in the New Providence Sanitary Landfill,” said Minister Ferreira.
“Mr. Speaker, the EOI Evaluation Team met to discuss the submissions. Each candidate was graded on their capacity to address the concerns at the Landfill, the financial strength to accomplish the same and prior experience in performing such work. Seven companies were shortlisted; and letters will be issued to the successful and unsuccessful participants in the EOI process by Friday, February 2nd, 2018.”
Minister Ferreira assured the House that the successful candidates will receive a copy of the “Request for Proposal for the Potential Investment and Management Services relating to the Deconstruction, Remediation, and Operation of the New Providence Sanitary Landfill” during the week of February 5th - 9th, 2018.
“They will also be required to pay a non-refundable registration fee of $10,000 and are expected to submit proposals to the Tenders Board at the Ministry of Finance by March 31st, 2018.
“The proposals will then be scrutinized by the RFP Evaluation Team, and a preferred bidder will be selected by May 2018.
“Mr. Speaker, after informing the Government of the results, I shall revert to the Bahamian people to announce the firm selected to enter into an agreement to manage, deconstruct and operate the New Providence Sanitary Landfill,” said Minister Ferreira.
“Until that day, Mr. Speaker, I am compelled to report on yet another incident that recently occurred at the Landfill. Mr. Speaker, I wish to bring to the attention of the Bahamian public that at 4:30 P.M. on Saturday, January 27th, 2018, a fire broke out at the New Providence Sanitary Landfill. The fire was mainly confined in the household waste section of the active tipping area, which is located in the southeastern portion of the site.”
Minister Ferreira added: “On close examination, there appeared to be two separate fires -- one approximately 50 x 100 feet and the other 50 x 200 feet. In all, the fire covered approximately 20 percent of the southeast corner of the household waste section of the active tipping area of the Landfill. With winds of about 29 knots at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, the fire spread into the area designated for the disposal of construction and demolition waste.”
Minister Ferreira made mention of the dedicated efforts of the Fire Department and Environmental Health Services Department to control the blaze with the limited tools and resources that have available to them.
“The Fire Team from the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) and the Department of Environmental Health Services (DEHS) with the assistance of private water trucks were able to contain most of the blaze throughout Saturday night. This was accomplished with ongoing coverage and compaction of the waste to prevent subterranean ignition. However, containment of the blaze proved challenging due to limited fire-fighting resources and the unusually high winds,” said Minister Ferreira.
“Mr. Speaker, work continued on Sunday, mostly in the construction and demolition waste area, where tractors, excavators and the water trucks worked in tandem to extinguish the remaining blaze, and reduce danger to life and property of neighbouring residents. At approximately 12:00 noon, on Sunday, January 28th, 2018, the winds subsided to about 20 Knots. This condition generated a lot of white smoke, which greatly affected residents in the neighbouring areas. It was forecasted that the winds would subside by Monday, and residents felt the effects of this, as there was a dramatic decrease in the amount of smoke.”
Minister Ferreira assured the House and the Bahamian public that, once the needed resources were provided and put in place, coupled with the equipment functioning as planned, it was anticipated that the fire would be fully extinguished by the end of the week -- “RBPF and DEHS Team will continue to wet and cover the refuse,” said Minister Ferreira.
In conclusion, the House was advised by the Environment and Housing Minister Ferreira, that the Government has been advised, to date, that “it is imperative that DEHS be furnished with the following equipment on hand, so they can fight these fires successfully and in a timely manner.” He stated the list as follows:
* Mobile and stationary firefighting equipment with sufficient fire hoses;
* Adequate mobile and stationary lighting;
* D-8 Pay Loaders, Fill Trucks and a Landfill Compactor;
* Adequate Cover Material;
* And Transportation for staff to properly carry out surveillance.
“As the Government continues to shunt the resources to the Landfill to deal with this vexing problem, my Ministry is implementing long-term strategies to fully resolve this Landfill issue,” said Minister Ferreira.
“Mr. Speaker, Pope John Paul II once said, ‘The Earth will not continue to offer its harvest, except with faithful stewardship. We cannot say we love the land, and then take steps to destroy it for use by future generations.’ Therefore, Mr. Speaker, as long as the constituents of Marathon permit me to be installed in this place, I shall remain the humble environmental steward and advocate of this beautiful nation.”
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