The project turn over and operation of the only cluster sanitary landfill in the country, aside from having been reset to September, 2015 – six months after it’s scheduled completion date, the parties to the project are also Â still apart on several contentious issues that has remained unresolved.
Earlier last week, a meeting among the stakeholders, municipalities who are part of the Alburquerque Cluster Sanitary Landfill (ACSLF) and the implementing agency, the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) expressed optimism that finally, the project is set for its turnover three months from now.
Serious allegations of substandard civil works and landfill operational equipment, and “other equipment delivered on site are not in accordance with specifications” were stated in a letter on June 15, 2015 addressed to TIEZA Assistant Chief Operating Officer, Architectural and Engineering Services Sector, Atty. Guiller Asido.
Already delayed for two months from the scheduled completion date on April 12, 2015, phase 3 of the Php300 million Â ACSL is now in its final stages with the delivery of a landfill operation equipment to complete the construction, according to TIEZA.
Started on September 15, 2014, the completion of phase 3 has been held pending the delivery of a Waste Vibratory Compactor with Dozer which was delayed “due to a labor dispute in USA harbours”, according to a letter signed by Asido on June 8, 2015.
In that letter, Asido assured Alburquerque Mayor Engr, Efren Tungol that the 16 point concerns raised by the Municipal Inspectorate Team (MIT) has been substantially addressed.
However, efforts on the part of TIEZA to resolve issues plaguing the project fell short of Tungol’s expectations who maintained that the acceptance of the project by the LGU of Albur hinges on the strict compliance by the contractor and TIEZA of the requirements as stated in the bid contract.
“The acceptance of the project will largely depend on our assessment with the assistance of the Commission on Audit and other competent agencies”, Tungol told the Chronicle.
Mired in contentious debates that divided the community of Albur, the Php300 million ACSLF went through rough sailing including political paybacks that led to the stiffening of the resolve of local officials to scrutinize the quality of the project.
But judging from the remarks by the LGU of Alburquerque to TIEZA’s response to their 16 point concerns reveals obstacles that have to be ironed out beforeÂ the turn over and eventual operation of the cluster landfill.
Mayor Efren Tungol said that not one of the response made by TIEZA to the 16 queries posed by Alburquerque pass muster and were mostly rejected for not conforming with the project’s plans and specifications with pictures to support their arguments.
All landfill operational equipment – backhoe and two dumptrucks all reconditioned with total cost amounting to Php9.8 million delivered at the site were “not in accordance with the specification”.
The MIT also disclosed that verification on the cost of the weigh bridge that was allocated Php4,094,480.85 in the Program of Works (POW) could be purchased at a much lower cost Â delivered, installed and calibrated at the landfill site in Barangay Dangay, Alburquerque.
The MIT rebuffed the claim of TIEZA that all pipes for the groundwater monitoring wells (GWMW) were used and installed “as per specifications” and the depth of the pipes installed “are in accordance with the approved revised plan”.
Sanitary landfills are required to install GWMWs to monitor underlying potable groundwater for contamination which according to the MIT should be “at least 90 meters depth as per plan and specifications”.
According to the MIT the four pieces of pipes installed in well no.1 did not reach the ground water level “therefore, it is not advisable to use in monitoring the groundwater”, contrary to the claim of TIEZA.
The MIT also challenged the project consultants insistence that “installing a liner (in the fishpond) would defeat the purpose of the GWMWs” adding “provision of liner/flooring was not in the plans and program of works”.
But the MIT argued that the purpose of the GWMW is to “monitor the ground water for possible contamination but not the water in the fishpond. Fishpond and GWMW have different functions”.
Sharply differing interpretations on the provision of geo-synthetic liner and flooring for the fishpond remained unresolved which the LGU requires but which TIEZA finds unnecessary.
TIEZA stated during the recent joint project inspection on May 13, 2015 “there is no need for a liner, as raised by the Mayor because the water seeping from the fishpond will determine if the water table has been contaminated as measured by the ground monitoring well”.
But Tungol disagreed saying that “the level of water in the fishpond the toxicity of the water can be gauged since the fish will not survive at a certain level of toxicity.
A fishpond was constructed in the landfill area to determine the presence of toxic waste water from the silting pond, according to the MIT and “if there is no liner installed at the flooring, the water won’t be retained in the pond, then the said facility would be useless”.
The MIT also told TIEZA to remove or replace leachate pipes installed with HDPE Pipe SDR-11 as per specifications and “not just PVC painted with black to look like HDPE”.
Plans for the construction of additional slope protector at the embankment in the landfill was also the subject of disagreement with the MIT claiming that the plan used “is incorrect” while TIEZA said “this was implemented as per plan and program of works”.
Nylon netting for the aviary were “not properly installed and are substandard”, the MIT remarked while claiming that “no bird can survive in the aviary since all trees inside the aviary were cut”.
TIEZA admitted that the leachate treatment plants suffered minor defects in the filter sections but were “corrected and rectified”, the MIT responded saying “the filter area was not constructed properly and no pipes connecting the silting pond and fishpond were installed”.
Leachate is the liquid that contains both dissolved and suspended material that drains or “leaches” from a landfill and if not properly contained poses a serious threat to surface water and groundwater.
With several concerns left unanswered by TIEZA, the fate of the beleaguered ACSLF is still hanging in the balance with the original cluster members Alburquerque,Â Baclayon, Balilihan, Corella, Cortes, Dauis, Lila, Loboc, Maribojoc, Panglao and Sikatuna expressing disappointment over the sad turn of events.
Tagbilaran City with an estimated 30 tons daily garbage collection is keenly awaiting the completion together with Loay both with mounting garbage disposal problems.
When completed, the ACSLF is one of the six LGU operated sanitary landfills in Central Visayas with a 50 ton daily capacity and a 25-30 year life span.
According to the Environmental Management Bureau Region 7 data, only 83 barangays out of 1,109 barangays have functional material recovery facilities (MRF) that would greatly ease the burden of the garbage collection of municipalties.