The Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico announced that it designated the $5.3 million expansion of the Fajardo Municipal Landfill as a critical project under Title V of PROMESA.
The landfill serves as the primary municipal and commercial disposal site for the north-eastern region of Puerto Rico, serving nine municipalities. It operates in a 144.3 acres parcel, of which 63.54 acres are already used for landfill operations.
Engineering estimates state that the current disposal space would be available for only three additional years, and the expansion represents approximately 20 additional years of operating capacity for this critical infrastructure, Oversight Board Executive Director Natalie Jaresko said.
“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,” she said.
“The expansion is critical because of the increased amount of debris deposited following hurricanes Irma and María,” she added.
“The project complies with the fundamental criteria to be considered a critical project and addresses two of the island’s most pressing issues: the need to diversify energy generation and to tackle the solid waste management crisis,” Jaresko said.
The landfill has a 4-megawatt of gas-to-energy (GTE) operation, using specialized equipment that uses methane as fuel to generate electrical energy. The energy, which is not produced from incineration, but from the naturally occurring methane from decomposing waste, is sold to PREPA at a rate of 10 cents per kilowatt hour.
Currently and since it was inaugurated three years ago, the GTE operation is capable of generating 1.9 megawatts of its 4-megawatt capacity. The expansion would allow the site to reach full capacity, provide power to 2,394 homes, and reduce 22,827,689 gallons of CO2 emissions, the Oversight Board said in a statement.
It is expected to create 10 new jobs in the operation of FML, along with 125 direct and indirect jobs during the construction phase.
“The Oversight Board is looking for opportunities to promote economic development and advance job creation through energy and infrastructure capital improvements,” Jaresko said. “Through Title V, the Oversight Board brings local and federal governments together with the private sector to promote critical strategic infrastructure investments.”