In the works for years, the transfer station on St. Croix is up and running, V.I. Waste Management Authority Executive Director May Adams Cornwall said at the WMA board meeting Thursday afternoon at the Department of Property and Procurement on St. Thomas.
The transfer station has been in the works for years, since the V.I. Port Authority and Federal Aviation Administration said that the proximity of the Anguilla landfill to the nearby Henry E. Rohlsen Airport is hazardous for the airport.
The transfer station was operational in April and May, followed by the closing of the landfill July 16. Soon after the closing, WMA had trouble reviewing and meeting performance standards, Cornwall said. They recently began work again on July 16.
“There’s construction that we’re still working on, but that doesn’t prevent us from operating,” she said, noting that WMA does not anticipate any more problems.
According to Cornwall, the transfer station acts as middleman between waste bins and the landfill. Solid waste is brought to the transfer station where it is consolidated in a baler and then carried off to another site.
She said WMA is now processing waste in a form acceptable to VIPA and FAA, and traffic has stopped going into the landfill. Residents should continue to drop off waste at bin sites.
Cornwall also updated the governing board on the Landfill Gas-to-Energy project designed to convert methane in the Bovoni landfill on St. Thomas to energy WMA can sell to the Water and Power Authority as an alternative to oil.
The Bovoni site was approved as a qualifying facility by the Public Service Commission in June, allowing WMA to begin negotiations with WAPA.
Cornwall said WMA is having problems capturing the methane gas in the landfill because it keeps escaping into the air. WMA is working on solutions to cap the gas in the landfill.
“When you’re operating (a landfill) and trying to get gas, you tend to not get as much gas generation,” she said, noting that the Bovoni landfill is running as usual throughout WMA’s project.
Cornwall said that WMA met the requirements for the federal stimulus grant that is funding the project, and they are hoping to put in a second generator.
At the June 30 Public Services Commission meeting, WMA representatives said the Bovoni facility will only use about 150 kilowatts of the total 714 kilowatts produced, and that it will create energy for about 20 years. The project will save the WMA almost $1 million each year for 10 years, they said, acknowledging it is uncertain exactly how much money the project will save WAPA ratepayers since negotiations are not complete.
“We’re in possession of the power purchase agreement,” Cornwall said. “We’ll sit down and negotiate with WAPA. Once terms are agreeable to us, we find out the value of the gas to them.”
No motions were voted on at the meeting. Public Works Commissioner Darryl Smalls, who is chairman of the board, said WMA will continue to have monthly meetings and encourages the public to get involved. The next meeting will be at the end of August at a date to be announced.