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Landfill site being prepared for waste as Tynes Bay repairs hit by global supply chain issues

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Out of service: The Tynes Bay waste-to-energy incinerator on North Shore (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Part of Marsh Folly is being prepared for landfill waste as supply chain problems hit repairs to the Tynes Bay incinerator, the acting public works minister said yesterday.

Wayne Furbert told the House: “The Tynes Bay facility is our only means of municipal solid waste disposal and should the facility fail, it will mean the country reverting to land filling.

“Sadly, I must report that we may very soon be at that point. For the last two weeks since my initial report, a crew of specialist boilermakers from Europe have been working non-stop to make repairs to both boiler units at the plant.

“At the same time, our contingency system, which normally bales refuse during these times of outages, also suffered a critical failure.”

Mr Furbert said Covid-19 and supply chain disruption in Europe had slowed the repair of the baler, to the point where Government employees “had to skilfully fabricate replacement parts, using 3D printing technology, to rebuild a hydraulic ram”.

He added: “But sadly, even these efforts to get the system up and running, have failed.

“While we do have a replacement ram being air freighted, the timing for its arrival and the space left in the bunker to stockpile the refuse that is collected daily are simply at odds.”

Bulky waste is being diverted for shredding at the Marsh Folly site in Pembroke for later disposal at Tynes Bay to maintain the little space left.

Mr Furbert said: “With the tentative time frame to have both boilers back in operation being still two weeks away, we will simply not have room to store any more garbage.

“As such, the ministry is now preparing for its last resort for waste disposal – and that is reopening a portion of Marsh Folly for land filling.”

He added: “We had hoped to avoid this outcome and have done so for the last ten years …. but at this point the options are few.

“We anticipate needing to landfill for a period of perhaps one to two weeks while the boiler repairs are completed and the baling system is repaired.

“Once these alternatives are available, the land filling will stop.”

Mr Furbert earlier reported that Government would invest about $7.5 million in the plant to stabilise its condition.

But he added: “While our original in-house estimates were close, the true pricing is closer to $8.5 million. That cost may still increase as much of it is based on the cost of steel and other materials, which are changing rapidly due to the global supply chain crisis.

“With the cost of baling and other associated works such as quality assurance for insurance purposes, crane hire and other on island logistics added to this figure, the final total for the project may be closer $10 million dollars and will take about 11 weeks for each boiler to be repaired.

“While this may seem like a lot of money, for comparison, the cost of full replacement, which is what we really need at this point, is closer to $150 million.

“And, to be clear, the $10 million we are planning to spend now only addresses the boilers, which are at the heart of the plant and the most vulnerable at this time.”

Mr Furbert said: “But there are still many critical auxiliary systems at Tynes Bay that are past obsolescence that can just as easily shutdown the plant if they are not soon replaced.

“So with life restored to the boilers, time will be of the essence to pursue the full solution of the $150 million investment.

“I’m pleased to report that the Ministry of Public Works in conjunction with the Ministry of Finance are meeting urgently to find creative financing solutions for such a large sum in our present financial state.”

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Published November 27, 2021 at 7:41 am (Updated November 27, 2021 at 7:41 am)

Landfill site being prepared for waste as Tynes Bay repairs hit by global supply chain issues

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