The City of Quetzaltenango, Guatemala has been experiencing serious deficiencies in its public solid waste management (SWM) services.
While the percentage of the population with regular collection of waste is relatively high, the service is not mechanized, collection and transportation are inefficient, rates of recycling are low, and urban sanitary conditions are generally poor. The city sends its waste to a disposal site that does not meet minimum environmental, health, and social standards. The dumpsite lacks leachate collection and treatment, gas capture, or monitoring systems. The operation does not provide daily coverage of waste or adequate levels of compaction to achieve efficient use of the allocated area. Waste is picked over by informal groups of scavengers and open fires are common. Geosyntec was retained by the the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to design improvements in the integrated SWM services in the city at the stages of collection, separation, treatment and recycling, and disposal. The project will be structured such that some or all SWM services are provided under a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) or similar concession.
Phase I of the project focused on the technical and commercial feasibility of delivering the project under various institutional mechanisms. A workable project needs to be technically, environmentally, socially, and financially viable. Geosyntec analyzed the following components necessary for an effective SWM system: waste collection and transportation; street cleaning; processing waste (separation) for treatment and recycling; and construction and operation of a modern landfill. Geosyntec analyzed various project development and delivery scenarios to assess the lifecycle costs, expected cash flows, and required tariff burden and availability payments to determine whether these are in line with the municipality's fiscal priorities and acceptable risks. We concluded Phase I by recommending a hybrid concession structure that supports returns significant enough to attract private participation, under a viable institutional mechanism in line with adequate regional and local fiscal and municipal requirements and capacities.
During Phase II, Geosyntec prepared a more detailed site characterization, engineering design, and environmental impact assessment; developed operations and maintenance (O&M) manuals and specified environmental monitoring requirements for project components; recommended the concession structure and terms; established performance standards for milestone payments; and developed the model contract and procurement documents to conduct an open and transparent bidding process.
Geosyntec's unique blend of technical expertise in the management of solid waste, combined with our experience providing advisory services for successful transactions involving private sector concessions, facilitated a thorough understanding and appreciation of the numerous environmental and social sensitivities surrounding this project. We helped the IDB apply appropriate yet cost-effective environmental guidelines according to international best practices in preparation for IDB's first solid waste concession project in Latin America.