The Ministry of the Environment and Housing intends to grind debris on the main hurricane-impacted islands and incinerate debris on the cays in an effort to save millions of dollars, according to the ministry’s Hurricane Dorian Debris Management Plan (DMP).
The report explained the debris mission will be expensive, considering challenges like the complexity of the debris stream, availability of personnel and disposal of debris.
“Abaco and Grand Bahama can support larger grinding operations and provide the mulch material back to organic [or] composting farms, beautification of areas and erosion control,” the report said.
“This avoids costly barging operations to other islands or other countries with vegetative debris.”
It went on to explain that air-curtain incineration (ACI) effectively expedites the volume reduction process by burning at higher temperatures while reducing the environmental impact caused by open burning.
The ACI system is a combination of a blower and pit, engineered as a unit, to trap a rotating mass of 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, re-circulate it and force-feed additional air to the burn chamber.
The system also aids in greatly reducing emissions.
The grinding method was also noted as an opportunity to recycle the vegetative debris back for an economically beneficial use.
The report noted that grinding crews will consist of sufficient personnel to operate a grinder, horizontal or tub, and support equipment.
During the loading process at the roadside, a concerted segregation effort shall be made to minimize the contamination of vegetative debris with metals, dirt and mud.
“This is critical in places like Abaco and Grand Bahama where the storm surge swept away good topsoil and natural erosion control byproducts,” the report said.
Earlier this month, Department of Environmental Health Services Senior Deputy Director Thomasina Wilson said that the department intends to use debris collected for possible business ventures for Bahamian entrepreneurs.