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This Environmental Review Summary is prepared and distributed in advance of the IFC Board of Directors' consideration of the proposed transaction. Its purpose is to enhance the transparency of IFC's activities, and this document should not be construed as presuming the outcome of the Board decision.
Any documentation which is attached to this Environmental Review Summary has been prepared by the sponsor and authorization has been given for public release. IFC has reviewed this documentation and considers that it is of adequate quality to be released to the public but does not endorse the content.
Environmental Review Summary
Project number 11353
Project nameSangster International Airport Montego Bay
SectorOther Support Activities for Transportation (Grain Terminals, Cargo Terminals, Airport Operations)
DepartmentGbl Infrastructure & Natural Resources
Company nameMBJ Airports Limited
Environmental categoryB
Date ERS disclosedMay 9, 2002
Previous EventsInvested: April 11, 2003
Signed: June 28, 2002
Approved: June 25, 2002

Project description
The proposed project comprises the operation and expansion of Sangster International Airport (SIA), the larger of the two international airports in Jamaica, under a 30-year BOT concession granted by the government of Jamaica (GOJ). Third busiest in the Caribbean after Puerto Rico and Cancun (in terms of passenger traffic), the airport is located east of the city of Montego Bay on the tourist-oriented north coast of Jamaica.

Environmental Category B disclosure requirements
IFC requires that this document is made available through the World Bank InfoShop and to the locally affected community no less than 30 days prior to project consideration by the IFC Board of Directors.

The Summary of Project Information (SPI) provides details of where the ERS has been made available to the locally affected community. The SPI must be sent to InfoShop no less than 30 days prior to project consideration by the IFC Board of Directors.

To view the Summary of Project Information(SPI) for this project, click here

Environmental and social issues
This is a Category B project, according to IFC’s Procedure for Environmental and Social Review of Projects because a limited number of specific environmental and social impacts may result which can be avoided or mitigated by adhering to generally recognized performance standards, guidelines or design criteria. The review of this project consisted of appraising technical and environmental and social information submitted by the project sponsor, the Consortium (MBJ Airports), and the current operator, the Airports Authority of Jamaica (AAJ), as well as information obtained during a site visit and contained in several key documents, including Environmental Audit – Sangster International Airport, prepared for AAJ in March 2001 by Environmental Solutions Ltd. The following potential environmental, health and safety and social impacts of the project were analyzed:
    • Subsurface contamination;
    • Stormwater drainage, including impacts on marine ecosystems;
    • Solid waste management;
    • Liquid effluents and sewage discharge;
    • Fuel/Hazardous materials storage and handling, including emergency response;
    • Bird hazards to aircraft;
    • Aircraft noise;
    • Employee health and safety;
    • Environmental, health and safety management systems;
    • Employment; and
    • Community relations.

Proposed mitigation for environmental and social issues
The MBJ Airports Consortium has presented plans to address these issues and to demonstrate that the proposed project will, upon implementation of the specific measures comprising an associated Environmental Action Plan, comply with requirements of the Jamaican National Environmental Protection Agency, NEPA (formerly the National Resources Conservation Authority, NRCA) and applicable World Bank policies and guidelines. Detail on each issue is provided below.

Subsurface Contamination.
Over the years and owing to the relatively large volumes of jet fuel handled, occasional and numerous fuel leaks appear to have contributed to wide spread contamination of the subsurface soil and groundwater primarily beneath the airport apron, and likely extending under portions of the taxiways and runway (approximate 10 acre area). One of the principal sources of fuel leakage was the old underground fuel pipeline that was part of a hydrant system used to fuel aircraft. During their recent construction of the new fuel hydrant system, the Airports Authority of Jamaica (AAJ) removed underground pools of petroleum hydrocarbons found in the excavations (totaling approximately 3000 liters), and also excavated and bio-remediated (through on-site land-farming) contaminated soil (approximately 1500 cubic meters) that was discovered. AAJ undertook and completed these remediation activities in 2001 pursuant to a permit issued by the NEPA/NRCA for the construction of the new system.

Notwithstanding, the full extent of soil and groundwater contamination throughout the airport property is still not known and difficult to determine. Because of the relatively permeable and porous geological conditions, it is extremely likely that contamination has spread over a large area. Unfortunately, there is no record to determine how much fuel has leaked over time. Nevertheless and as demonstrated by the lack of any written specific plans or requirements to further address the residual contamination, AAJ and NEPA intend to allow the material remain in place and naturally degrade. NEPA does not have specific regulations relevant to subsurface petroleum hydrocarbon contamination remediation. Although there is no evidence that any underground petroleum hydrocarbons are seeping into the sea or to the shallow ponds or ditches on the airport land, the presence of the material does pose a potential environmental risk to the adjacent marine environment. Of particular concern is the adjacent Montego Bay Marine Park and its threatened near-shore coral reef ecosystem. The Montego Bay Marine Park was recently the focus of some case study research on integrated coastal zone management of coral reefs by the World Bank (2000).

There is also the potential that other areas of the airport are contaminated, including the areas beneath the fuel oil tank farm, the Texaco gasoline service station, the underground diesel storage tank serving the back-up power generating station and the maintenance shops operated by Air Jamaica, AJAS, and AAJ. Although the Government of Jamaica has agreed to indemnify the Consortium for any liabilities associated with all existing contamination, going forward MBJ Airports will monitor whether significant amounts of any remaining material could, in fact, move off-site and be released to the sea. Monitoring will be designed so as to ensure that there will be sufficient time to intercept the material before its release to the sea could cause any adverse impacts.

Stormwater Drainage.
Although the airport has a stormwater drainage system sufficient to manage the overland drainage originating on the airport property before discharging runoff to the sea at the Montego Bay Marine Park, the system also receives runoff from a much larger hilly drainage basin area with exposed soils. These off-site stormwater flows sometimes contain significant quantities of sediment, which, if not effectively intercepted by the natural wetland area south of the airport, could result in unfavorable sediment loads from airport drainage discharges to the sea. In order to completely prevent this sediment from reaching the Marine Park coral reefs, MBJ Airports will ensure that the relevant government Authorities take appropriate and timely action to prevent off-site flows from entering the property and are diverted via the construction of the stormwater interceptor drain project associated with the Queens Drive highway rehabilitation program now underway.

Solid Waste Management.
Because the airport’s old solid waste incinerator is no longer operational, AAJ is currently temporarily disposing of wastes generated by incoming flights, as well as wastes generated on the airport terminals and property, by open burning on-site. As the responsible party under the terms of the concession, GOJ and AAJ will construct a new, larger on-site incinerator. MBJ Airports will ensure that AAJ installs the new incinerator, and, upon initiation of airport operation, will manage all solid wastes in accordance with Jamaican Public Health Regulations, which require that all waste from incoming international aircraft be segregated from terminal-generated waste and incinerated. Terminal generated waste may either be incinerated, or otherwise appropriately managed with the municipal solid waste stream. MBJ Airports will also investigate and implement, where possible, opportunities to recycle and/or reclaim certain solid wastes, such as plastic, paper and metal wastes generated at the terminal.

Liquid Effluents and Sewage Discharges.
Three types of wastewaters are generated at the airport: sewage generated at the terminals and service areas, aircraft-generated sewage, and small amounts of oily wastewaters generated during aircraft and vehicle repair and maintenance activities. Both types of sewage are discharged to the local, municipal sanitary sewerage system, which is served by a relatively new secondary-level wastewater treatment plant in Montego Bay with adequate capacity. Aircraft sewage is first collected from aircraft in specialized trucks and transported to a newly installed mechanical grinding unit where solids are macerated before being pumped to the public sewerage system. At present, maintenance wastewater is discharged into the stormwater drainage channels without any treatment or oil removal. To prevent oils and other pollutants in these wastewaters from finding their way into the coastal zone, MBJ Airports will ensure that some level of pollution control -- e. g., oil/water separators -- is provided for these wastewaters for facilities directly under its control and for facilities under the control of its tenants. In any case, the appropriate party will make improvements to management of these wastewaters so as to comply with local and IFC/World Bank discharge requirements, which limit oil and grease to 10 mg/l in discharges to surface waters.

Fuel/Hazardous Materials Storage and Handling.
The principal hazardous material handled at the airport is jet fuel. Fuel is currently stored in an above-ground tank farm (owned and operated jointly by Esso and Shell), which is in the process of being relocated to the west edge of the airport property and rebuilt. Now under construction, the new tank farm will be provided with secondary containment to prevent accidental spills from being released to the environment. Fuel is pumped from the storage tanks through an underground pipeline to fuel hydrants from which aircraft fueling trucks load fuel and deliver to aircraft. MBJ Airports will ensure that appropriate procedures to minimize the risk of accidents from storing and handling fuel are developed and adopted by all parties handling fuel on the airport property. Emergency plans and procedures will include provisions for properly and immediately handling spills, and for explosions and fires. Appropriate emergency equipment will also be provided the relevant parties.

Other hazardous materials and chemicals occasionally brought in as cargo or incidentally used in maintenance activities (e.g., solvents, paints, pesticides), may be handled from time to time. MBJ Airports will ensure that appropriate, segregated holding areas are established for these chemicals and materials, and that related handling and emergency procedures are developed.

Bird Hazards to Aircraft
Like most airports, bird strikes pose a potential hazard at the Montego Bay Airport, with the main species of concern being the cattle egret and turkey vulture. AAJ, in coordination with the Civil Aviation Authority, recently initiated a bird habitat management program, part of which included the elimination of water bodies between the taxiway and runway. Offering a habitat and feeding area for these shorebirds, these ponds were replaced in 2001 with a steep-sided narrow canal. MBJ Airports will ensure that all appropriate procedures and practices related to bird hazard management will be followed.

Aircraft Noise.
To control aircraft noise impacts on surrounding communities, the Civil Aviation Authority imposes an operational curfew from midnight to 7 am on aircraft take-offs and landings. There are two communities particularly close to the airport’s runway – a combined fishing village (Whitehouse community) and small resort complex on the north coastal area, and the somewhat dispersed residential/ commercial development on the eastern perimeter known as the Flanker community. Although there are no records of complaints, the Consortium will develop a mechanism to record and respond to public complaints, if and when any are received.

Employee Health and Safety.
MJ Airports will develop and implement a suitable employee health and safety program. Personnel working on airfield areas will be provided with hearing protection and fluorescent outer wear. Personnel will have pre-employment and periodic medical examinations, and be trained on the hazards, safety procedures and emergency response plan associated with their tasks.

Environmental, Health and Safety Management System.
Under the terms of the Concession Agreement, the Consortium will develop and implement a joint Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) management system in accordance with ISO 14001, the international environmental management system standard. This will ensure that all significant EHS issues are managed in accordance with all applicable legal and other requirements.

Currently, approximately 240 staff are employed at the airport. In its plans to streamline the operations, MBJ airports anticipates that there would be substantial reductions in personnel, however outsourcing of some functions to subcontractors may very well provide alternative opportunities for those staff who are made redundant. Terms of the compensation package for those employees who will be separated are the responsibility of the GOJ. In addition, 200 direct construction jobs will be created during the six-year construction program.

Community Relations.
MBJ Airports is committed to fostering inclusive, participatory and constructive interactions and relationships with the local community. For example, MBJ will continue to sponsor the Flanker Community football team originally established by AAJ.

Accordingly, IFC concludes that the proposed project will meet the applicable World Bank/IFC environmental and social policies and the environmental, health and safety guidelines upon successful implementation of the agreed mitigation measures.

Monitoring and compliance
IFC will evaluate the project's compliance with the applicable environmental and social requirements during the lifetime of the project by reviewing the annual monitoring reports (AMRs) prepared for the project covering: (i) the status of implementation of any measures contained in the Environmental Action Plan; and (ii) ongoing performance of project-specific environmental, health and safety and social activities [as reflected in the results of periodic and quantitative sampling and measuring programs.] Periodic site supervision visits will also be conducted.