Waste Transfer/Disposal

The Authority is currently managing two waste Transfer Stations, namely the Belize City Transfer station, San Ignacio/Santa Elena – Benque Viejo Transfer station.  These are located at the old Belize City dumpsite and the old San Ignacio/Santa Elena  – Benque Viejo dumpsite.

Waste Transfer – Transfer Stations

These facilities play an important role in a community’s total waste management system, serving as the link between a community’s solid waste collection program and a final waste disposal facility, in our case the regional sanitary landfill located at Mile 24 George Price Highway. A transfer station provides a safe, efficient, and cost-effective means to process and transfer solid waste from the waste generators to a final disposal site.

Wastes are brought to the facility by collection vehicles (garbage trucks) as well as self-haul vehicles ranging from pickup trucks to dump trucks. The waste is dumped onto a concrete floor (the “tipping” floor) inside of the transfer station. Recyclable materials such as PET bottles (soft drink and water bottles), HDPE bottles (chlorox/bleach bottles), glass bottles, aluminum and steel cans are sorted out manually and removed from the facility. The residual waste is then loaded by a front end loader into large-capacity transfer trailers and hauled to the regional sanitary landfill.

Operating Hours for the facilities:

Monday – Fridays 8:00am – 5:00pm;
Saturday 8:00am – 1:00pm;
Sunday – CLOSED

Waste Disposal – Sanitary Landfill

The Regional Sanitary Landfill is located at Mile 24 on the George Price Highway approximately 2 miles heading due North along a paved access road.  This is the country’s only Sanitary Landfill.  The entire parcel of land where the landfill facility is located is 370 acres.  This is the final disposal location for waste originating from municipalities in the Western Corridor (Belize City, San Ignacio/ Santa Elena – Benque Viejo, San Pedro Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker).  The first Municipal Solid Waste cell (Phase I) occupies approximately 5 acres.

What is a municipal solid waste sanitary landfill?

A sanitary landfill is a large land area where solid waste is disposed of in a manner that helps to protect human health and the environment (SWANA 1991). Sanitary landfilling is an engineering method for the disposal of municipal solid waste. It includes the spreading of sorted garbage (solid waste) in layers,  the waste is  compacted  before being covered with soil (SWANA 1991).  Additional considerations for a sanitary landfill also includes:

  • Proper siting (layout) and design of facilities, operational procedures and methods to ensure the protection of human health and the environment;
  • monitoring of surface waters,, groundwater, an  liquid waste from s the compacted garbage (also known as leachate) and the venting of  landfill gases during the time the facility is open and operational and also when it is decommissioned and closed;

Site selection is important for the siting of these facilities.  In the case of the Mile 24 Regional Sanitary Landfill, site selection was included in the EIA process.

The Mile 24 Regional Sanitary Landfill was designed, constructed and supervised in accordance with  internationally accepted standards for municipal solid waste landfills. The landfill has the following features:

  •  A composite bottom liner: to keep all liquids within the landfill and prevent the contamination of water sources e.g. surface and ground water. The composite bottom liner is comprised of a the following:
    • Geomembrane – a synthetic material (thick plastic) which is placed on top of the compacted native clay.
    • A leachate (contaminated water) collections system which is comprised of a river gravel drainage layer and a network of perforated pipes are placed on top of two layers of another synthetic material known as geotextile.
    • Leachate or liquid waste collection and treatment system:  this system is comprised of the lechate collection pipes, a submersible pump that automatically discharges leachate into  the first of a series of treatment ponds.
    • Treatment Ponds: Three ponds ( anaerobic, maturation and facultative)  lined with geomembrane receive the leachate where it undergoes natural treatment.

The  leachate once treated and tested  is discharged into the sedimentation area and eventually offsite by way of the storm water system.  Prior to the discharge of leachate off site it must meet effluent standards established by the Department of the Environment.

Additionally the landfill facility is equipped with an administrative building, a weigh scale and scale house, mechanic workshop, monitoring wells and a hazardous waste cell.

The Hazardous Waste Cell is to be used for the safe disposal of hazardous waste (prior approval required from the Operator). This cell has two composite bottom liners to prevent the percolation of leachate or contaminated water to groundwater. Each of these liners consists of, from the bottom up: a compacted clay, geomembrane, one layer of geotextile, round river gravel drainage layer and submersible pump.

Operating Hours for the facilities:

Monday – Fridays 8:00am – 5:00pm;
Saturday 8:00am – 1:00pm;
Sunday – CLOSED