THE technical assessment team for the Itogon town waste management system project at the Benguet Corporation’s Antamok open pit laid down the work program to set the direction for the project during its first meeting Tuesday, April 25.
The team is headed by Benguet Gold Operations resident manager Antonio Buenavista and composed of representatives from the local government units of Itogon town, Benguet province and Baguio City, Benguet Corp. and the regional offices of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) and the Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau and developer Goldrich Natural Resources Exploration and Development Inc.
Benguet Corp. Vice President for compliance Mignon De Leon said the general direction would be the pursuit of the waste-to-energy project initially to serve Itogon and Baguio and eventually the entire Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay area.
Prior to this however, the need for a temporary waste management facility for the host community will be prioritized to address its need for one.
De Leon said the establishment of an engineered sanitary landfill (ESL) was first considered as a stop gap measure during the meeting among Benguet Governor Crescencio Pacalso and mayors Mauricio Domogan and Victorio Palangdan of Baguio and Itogon,
However, ESL was ruled out after determining constructing the facility would take the same time and would entail the same cost as establishing the waste-to-energy technology.
City General Services Officer Romeo Concio said based on the city’s studies, a modular ESL would take nine to 12 months to construct and would command a big budget as the waste-to-energy facility.
It was agreed the town would instead set up a temporary residual containment area (TRCA) and employ component programs on material recovery facilities and waste segregation as approved by the EMB-CAR.
The TRCA will be allowed to operate for a year with all the required safety and sanitation infrastructure and practices prescribed in the guidelines under the Republic Act No. 9003 or the “Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.”
Palangdan has started the information-education-communication drive on TRCA to prepare the community, said representative Romeo Pocding.
During the meeting, it was also agreed the team would schedule the technical presentation of the waste-to-energy technologies of the eight proponents which were shortlisted from a pool of proposals received for the project.
Concio said the city will closely observe the presentation and will provide inputs based on its interest as a would-be client of the proposed facility.
At present, the city produces 400 tons of wastes a day and its residuals wastes are being transported to Capas, Tarlac at a cost of around P80 million a year.
The establishment of waste-to-energy facility in Itogon will enable the city to cut down its hauling cost amounting to P50 million.
The project is part of Benguet Corp’s rehabilitation program of one portion of its Antamok open pit and will be a joint venture with developer Goldrich.
A memorandum of agreement was earlier forged between the parties including Baguio City which will be obligated to supply 300 tons of wastes to the facility. (Aileen Refuerzo/PR)