A group of companies led by Dart have been selected as the preferred bidder to partner with government to deliver an Integrated Solid Waste Management System. A contract is not expected to be signed until next spring, but government is framing today's announcement as a major step in the process. According to materials provided at an informal press briefing, the new facility is planned for an approximately 20 acre site immediately to the east of the wastewater treatment plant, subject to government approval. That's not too far from the current George Town landfill site, which is expected to reach capacity by 2021. The country is one step closer to a solution to its long-standing waste management woes. Wednesday, it was announced that a Dart-led group of companies has emerged from a field of three pre-qualified candidates as government's preferred bidder to deliver the ISWMS. "We've identified the matters that we want to finalize through the next months in order to finalize the details of the contract, and hopefully we will be able to announce the contract signing in the coming months," said Environment, Health, Culture, and Housing Ministry Chief Officer Jennifer Ahearn. She said many details still need to be hammered out. "Some of the details, we will need to get some cabinet decisions, some of them will have some technical, financial, and legal implications that will be discussed and negotiated amongst the technical team," said Ms. Ahearn. Ms. Ahearn told Cayman 27 besides contract signing, the next steps include an environmental impact assessment and securing planning approval, with the aim of having all facilities operational by 2021. "With this integrated approach, there will be different facilities built-in one location to be kind of a one stop shop for waste management," said Senior Project Manager Jim Schubert. He told Cayman 27 while an ISWMS is expected to divert 95% of materials ordinarily destined for a traditional landfill, a new landfill will be necessary for the remaining 5%. "We will need a landfill, but we expect that landfill will be much smaller, excepting only about 5% of the waste stream, so a new engineered landfill will be built on Grand Cayman to handle the remaining material which is an ash like material," explained Mr. Schubert. The nuts and bolts of the ISWMS are basically the same as in the outline business case. It includes a waste-to-energy facility, reduce, reuse, and refurbish programmes, community recycling depots, transfer and bulking facilities, composting of yard waste and organic materials, and remediating landfills on all three islands. Will there be any final opportunity for the public to weigh in on this project? The public was consulted during the creation of the reference project and the components that make up the ISWMS. Chief Officer Ahearn told Cayman 27 there will also be a public consultation phase during the EIA process.