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Lawmakers tour Marpi landfill

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MEMBERS of the House Committee on Public Utilities, Transportation and Communications on Wednesday toured the Marpi landfill and listened to the presentation of its new operator, MES LLC.

The committee chairman, Rep. Marco T. Peter, said they were invited by MES LLC officials to see for themselves the differences in performance between the present and previous landfill operations.

With Peter were Reps. Luis John Castro, Ralph N. Yumul and Joseph Leepan Guerrero.

Department of Public Works Solid Waste Manager Blas T. Mafnas and other DPW officials also joined the  tour.

James I. Benavente, MES LLC’s environmental engineer, made a PowerPoint presentation in a small office next to the landfill before he and the lawmakers toured the landfill. He showed them the main components of the federally compliant solid waste facility.

The lawmakers were shown all the mitigation and improvements made since the new contractor took over the operations of the landfill several months ago, as well as the heavy equipment, which include two landfill compactors, a 10-cubic yard dump truck, two Caterpillar bulldozers, a payloader and a 2,500-gallon water truck.

The new contractor said there were some indications that the previous operator might have “shortchanged” the requirements in the contract.

The site tour was conducted amid the protests filed by three other bidders —  Success International Corp., Tang’s Corp. and SM Enterprises.

 

From left Rep. Joseph Leepan Guerrero, James I. Benavente, partially hidden, of MES LLC, Reps. Marco Peter and Luis John Castro observe Cell 2 of the Marpi Solid Waste Facility on Wednesday. Photo by Emmanuel T. Erediano

They are alleging conflict of interest and “major signs of bad faith and nepotism” in the overall process of the request for proposals or RFP issued by DPW.

Peter said Benavente’s presentation followed by a walking tour was instructive.

He said his committee wants to ensure adherence to strict environmental, health, and safety standards set by the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality.

“We also want to meet with DPW and its privately contracted landfill operator so we can understand the  fundamental importance of a sanitary landfill and the technical capacity to manage and operate it,” he added.

Peter said he and his colleagues were also concerned about how the overall infrastructure and landfill facilities are maintained and optimized. These include all six cells, the leachate treatment systems, groundwater monitoring, hydrogeological isolations, operational controls, and waste emplacement and covering, he added.

“We appreciate the knowledge shared [by DPW and its contractor],” Peter said.

His committee, he added, will continue to engage DPW officials on landfill and other related issues.

Peter said he and his colleagues will also confer with other entities “to understand equally paramount issues related to transportation, utilities, and telecommunications.”

 

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