Mon | Oct 23, 2017

NEPA to cite NSWMA

Published:Thursday | March 12, 2015 | 7:27 PMChristopher Serju

The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) will this morning serve a range of Notices of Intention to Suspend the Permit on the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) for several breaches of the terms and conditions of the two environmental permits under which it operates the Riverton City Waste Disposal Site in St Andrew.

The notices are a precursor to a potentially suspension of the NSWMA’s licence to operate the island’s largest garbage and comes almost a year after the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA) granted a permit for solid waste treatment and disposal and another for a hazardous waste storage, transportation, treatment or disposal facility.

NEPA’s Enforcement Manager Richard Nelson told The Gleaner that while there is no fine associated with the Notice of Intention to Suspend, it is a requirement by law and gives the agency 30 days in which to clean up its act.

“If they fail to do it (remedy the situation) then we suspend the permits and they shouldn’t be operating the dump. If they continue to operate the dump without a permit then we would have to take them to court,” Nelson explained.

One of the notices has to do with the NSWMA’s failure to compact garbage and then covering it with a layer of soil or other suitable material and the process repeated every two weeks, resulting in a build up of alternating layers of garbage and the buffer material.

The Enforcement Manager explained the importance of adherence to this international practice for landfill operations. “As long as the garbage is not exposed to air it will not catch fire…although the methane is there if you don’t have oxygen it will not ignite. You may have spontaneous combustion below but because it is being starved of the oxygen it wouldn’t burn for very long.”

The collection agency is also being cited, for among other things, its failure to properly fence and or secure the dump in order to prevent access by unauthorized persons. Peter Knight chief executive officer at NEPA explained that timing of the notices is coincidental to the latest fire at the dump which started on Wednesday afternoon.

“I was just about to sign the notices that came to my desk but than a week ago but I asked for an adjustment which is what caused the delay. Now we are also going to have cite them for the fact that they are in breach of the permit requirement that the Enforcement Officer should be advised of any breaches or fire within 24 hours. Even now we have not been advised even informally,” he told The Gleaner.

Meanwhile, Jennifer Edwards executive director of the NSWMA declined to speak on the matter, referring to Clive Davis, head of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM).

“You haffi talk to Mr. Davis at ODPEM which has been asked co-ordinate the emergency response and to do the public communiqué on the matter,” she advised.