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ODPEM makes recommendations on Riverton disposal site fire

Published:Thursday | May 21, 2015 | 10:16 AM

A report on fire at the Riverton disposal site in St Andrew in March is calling for improvements in the infrastructure and management of the facility as well as the training of personnel.

The report by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) was tabled in Parliament on Tuesday.

It has recommended, among other things, the setting up of a temperature and air quality monitoring station at Riverton; water towers in strategic locations; and the procurement of landfill earth moving and compacting equipment.

It also calls for Development and implementation of a site management plan, a rapid emergency response plan and additional training for dump operators and fire fighters.

The report further recommends greater recycling and systemic segregation of waste and for the relevant authorities to pursue recycling and energy use partnerships.

Additionally, it has been recommended that a plan be developed for the closure and carrying out of remediation work at Riverton and that a new landfill be identified.

The report notes that the recent fire at Riverton occurred from March 11 to April 2 and affected more than 90 per cent of the 120 acre property.

The blaze was described as the largest fire to date at the facility.

The fire affected sections of the Corporate Area and St Catherine resulting in the closure of at least 50 schools and several businesses.

However, the report notes that the impact of the fire to the economy and the wider Jamaican society is yet to be quantified and underscores the need for urgent intervention to prevent further losses.