Debris management plan being formulated for Abaco and Grand Bahama

Debris management plan being formulated for Abaco and Grand Bahama
Minister of Housing and the Environment, Romauld Ferreira (file photo)

Debris removal likely to cost “tens of millions of dollars”

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Ministry of Environment and Housing is in the process of formulating a debris management plan for hurricane ravaged Abaco and Grand Bahama, according to Environment Minister Romauld Ferreria, who noted that the cost of the exercise would likely be in the tens of millions of dollars.

Ferreira told reporters ahead of a Cabinet meeting yesterday that the government is formulating a management plan, having already completed satellite imagery and drone recordings of the impacted areas.

“We estimate that there is going to be about two million cubic meters of debris generated in Abaco,” the minister said.

“That equates to about 1.5 billion pounds of debris. We have identified potential lay down sites and a key feature of the plan is we hope to take these items out of the country.

“Obviously, such large amounts are going to overload the landfill. We have to separate the debris; concrete, rubble, vegetative debris and metals. There is actually a boat sitting on top of a roof in Marsh Harbour which gives you an idea of how high the sea surge was. The waste has to be collected, sorted and it has to be reduced to a volume, which usually means a shredder or some cutting devices.”

When questioned on the cost of this exercise Ferreira responded, “I don’t have the final number on cost. It’s going to be tens of millions of dollars.”

Ferreria noted that additional manpower will be required.

He also said there was significant internal damage to homes in Grand Bahama as a result of flooding and storm surge.

“We are really going to have to develop two separate responses as to how we deal with the damage and debris generated,” Ferreira said.

Dorian stalled over Grand Bahama as a Category 4 hurricane for more than 24 hours after hitting the island late on September 1, after devastating Abaco.

In the aftermath of the deadly storm, photos emerged showing oil leaking from the South Riding Point storage and transshipment terminal.

Equinor, formerly Statoil, operates the old Burmah Oil storage facility at South Riding Point in East Grand Bahama. The company is a Norwegian multinational energy company majority owned by the Norwegian government. Last week, the company said in a statement that there are no observations that the oil had seeped into the ocean adding it was too early to say how much oil had leaked from its facility.

Addressing the matter, Ferreira said, “The clean-up crew has arrived in Grand Bahama. They have dispatched aerial footage; they have done structural tests and the recovery effort is in full swing in Grand Bahama. Bear in mind the roofs blew off and you had oil, a large smear and that is challenging in and of itself. The first priority is to stabilize the location, the source, prevent any further escape and move on from there.”