Sept. 6, 2005 Tire disposal problems will continue for at least another six to eight months, representatives from A-9 Trucking told senators Tuesday. This news came after Finance Committee members approved a lease agreement set up between the company and the government for space at the Bovoni landfill to operate a tire shredder.
"We still need to take care of a lot of things before we can get the permit we need from Coastal Zone Management for the startup of the shredder," said Jimez Ashby, owner of A-9 Trucking. Ashby added that CZM had issued the company a waiver to start shredding without the permit back in February. However, because the waiver expired and a new waiver was issued, CZM required that the landfill be modified to ensure protection to the environment. These stipulations include:
— Clearing and excavating land to accommodate the machine itself. This amounts to a space five feet deep and eight feet wide;
— Installation of an electricity and lighting system to power the machine. For this, a permit still has to be obtained from the Water and Power Authority;
— Construction of a 10-foot-wide access road for the public, running 1,000 feet from the landfill site;
— Cleaning and clearing land for the construction of a used tire mono-fill a repository for tires once they are shredded.
CZM also required that A-9 Trucking install a lining inside the mono-fill so chemicals from the shredded tires do not seep into the groundwater or make their way to the nearby Mangrove Lagoon water treatment facility.
"The first problem with this is that in order to build the mono-fill, we have to dig through and move thick layers of rock," Ashby said. "That's going to take months to do. The other problem is that such a lining is going to cost me in excess of $200,000, and I can't afford that."
CZM's Director Victor Somme told senators that his organization has been willing to compromise on the construction of the lining. "It doesn't have to cost that much to put in the lining," Somme said. "Mr. Ashby told me himself back in February that a clay lining could be put in for a lower price. While this might not be the best solution, CZM has bent over backwards to accommodate A-9 Trucking so that the shredder could be operational. This issue is definitely not an issue."
Representatives from the Department of Property and Procurement also told senators that A-9 Trucking has made no progress on the landfill since the original waiver was issued in February. "WAPA hasn't been brought in to set up the power; nothing has been done to build the mono-fill or clear the land to put in the machine. They've had months to at least start these projects," said Edgar "Baker" Phillips, P&P's special project coordinator.
Phillips added that he hopes the projects will be completed by the expiration of the second waiver in March. "That's nine months they have to finish this. I think it can be done, but I don't see anything happening yet."
Purchased by Ashby, the shredder has been on island since 2001. (See "Shredder to Make Short Work of Old Tires") It ceased operations last year, though, when the Bovoni landfill stopped accepting tires due to a significant tire buildup. Its permanent installation has been long awaited by residents anxious to find a solution to the outbreak of dengue across the territory an epidemic which has in some areas been linked to the collection of water in old tires.
Once the shredder is operational, Ashby told senators that tires which have been accumulating at the landfill over the years will finally be taken care of at a cost of $4.95 per tire, to be absorbed both by consumers and the government. Ashby added that shredded tires will subsequently be used for various improvement projects around the territory. "For example, shredded tires could be spread across the dirt road leading out of the Bovoni landfill to control the dust being sent through the air," Ashby said.
Senators unanimously voted to approve the 10-year lease so the shredding process could be expedited.
Senators also voted to approve a lease between the government and St. Croix resident Clifford Hamilton for the continued operation of Villa's Bar on St. Croix.
A number of appropriation transfers were also approved by Senators Tuesday. These include:
— $110,000 for the Office of the Governor to purchase computer equipment from the University of the Virgin Islands, as well as funds to cover travel, telephone and utility expenses. Testimony given by the governor's Chief of Staff Alric Simmonds indicated that money will also be used to cover catering expenses incurred by the governor for various functions held over the past year. Savings from positions left vacant during fiscal year 2005 account for availability of money to be transferred;
— $600,000 from the Department of Public Works to the Waste Management Authority to acquire garbage trucks for both districts, bins, sewer pipes and six vehicles for day-to-day operations;
— $564,279.55 for the Department of Planning and Natural Resources;
— $64,203 for the Tourism Department to be used primarily to buy equipment for various libraries.
All appropriation transfers come from savings realized from the various departments during FY 2005.
Present at Tuesday's committee meeting were Sens. Roosevelt C. David, Liston Davis, Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg, Juan Figueroa-Serville, Neville James, Norman Jn Baptiste, Terrence "Positive" Nelson and Usie R. Richards.
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