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Fajardo Landfill expansion designated as critical project

By on August 25, 2019

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Puerto Rico fiscal board fast-tracks $5.3 million investment under Title V

SAN JUAN — Puerto Rico’s Financial Oversight and Management Board (FOMB) announced Sunday it has designated the $5.3 million expansion of the Fajardo Municipal Landfill as a critical project under Title V of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act (Promesa), which includes bringing the methane-fueled electric powerplant at the site to full capacity.

The project would extend the operating capacity of the landfill, which serves as the primary municipal and commercial disposal site for the island’s northeastern region, to approximately 20 years, according to a press release issued by the fiscal board.

Engineering estimates state that the Fajardo landfill’s current disposal space would be available for only three additional years, the board said, noting that the landfill serves nine municipalities and operates on 144.3 acres, of which 63.54 acres are already used for landfill operations.

The project is expected to create 10 new jobs in the operation of the landfill, along with 125 direct and indirect jobs during the construction phase.

“Title V of PROMESA gives the Oversight Board a role in revitalizing Puerto Rico’s infrastructure, and the expansion of the Fajardo Landfill is an important project to fulfill this mandate,” board Executive Director Natalie Jaresko said. “The expansion is critical because of the increased amount of debris deposited following hurricanes Irma and María.”

Jaresko said the project complies with the “fundamental criteria” to be considered a critical project because it addresses two of the island’s most pressing issues: the need to diversify energy generation and tackle the island’s solid-waste management crisis.

The project includes bringing to full capacity a 4-megawatt (MW) methane-fueled plant on landfill grounds. The plant, which feeds into the island’s power grid, has been generating only 1.9 MW since it was inaugurated three years ago, according to the release.

The plant-generated power, which is not produced from incineration but from the naturally occurring methane from decomposing waste, is sold to the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority at 10 cents per kilowatt-hour. The fully powered plant would provide power to an estimated 2,394 homes and reduce some 22.8 million gallons of carbon dioxide emissions, the board said.

“The Oversight Board is looking for opportunities to promote economic development and advance job creation through energy and infrastructure capital improvements,” Jaresko added. “Through Title V, the Oversight Board brings local and federal governments together with the private sector to promote critical strategic infrastructure investments.”

Jaresko did not provide details about the process to choose contractors for the project.

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