Tuesday, September 17, 2002

State of Hawaii

Leeward landfill
growth opposed

The state is extending the use
of the dump at Waimanalo Gulch

By Rosemarie Bernardo

Leeward Coast community activists are fuming mad that the state is letting the garbage mound at the city's Waimanalo Gulch Landfill grow another 30 feet higher.

"We're so disappointed that it's going to continue to expand," said Maeda Timson, a member of the Makakilo/Kapolei/Honokai Hale Neighborhood Board.


The city Department of Environmental Services "had no intentions of working with the community to get the alternatives moving quickly," Timson added. "It's time that it needs to go somewhere else."

The state Department of Health granted the city a modified permit yesterday that allows the height limit of the municipal solid-waste landfill to be increased to 430 feet from its current 400-foot limit.

Tim Steinberger, director of the city Department of Environmental Services, said, "The permit allows us time to finish our study on alternatives to solid-waste disposal and to respond to issues raised on the revised environmental impact statement for the expansion of the Waimanalo Gulch Landfill."

The permit also allows the city and Waste Management of Hawaii Inc. to continue operating the Waianae Coast landfill until May 30, 2004. The city, however, projects the 86.5-acre landfill will reach its 430-foot height limit capacity by April 2003, according to Gary Gill, state deputy director of environmental health.

In a written statement, Steinberger said the city still plans to shut the landfill in five years. However, the state has yet to receive another permit application from city officials for a five-year expansion of the landfill.

The city plans to complete a feasibility study on alternatives, including the expansion of HPOWER, the city's waste-to-energy plant.

Under the conditions of the permit, the city is required to provide the state with a plan on how it will cover the garbage mound once the landfill is closed.

Gill said the state "put the city on notice that they have to do better in long-term planning."

"They do not have an up-to-date, integrated solid-waste management plan," Gill said. "The public has a right to know what the city's long-term plans are."

City officials were not available to comment.

State Sen. Colleen Hanabusa (D, Waianae Coast), who has strongly opposed the landfill's expansion, criticized the Health Department for supporting the city's plans for Waimanalo Gulch.

"The city has taken this attitude that if they keep delaying, sooner or later people will forget about it and they'll get away with it," Hanabusa said.

The city will not get away with this, she added.

Neighborhood board member Jane Ross, who has lived a mile away from the landfill for 38 years, said, "What irritates me the most was knowing the landfill (was) filling up -- they didn't use those years to find another solution.

"It's an injustice to the public. They sat on their hands and did nothing when they could've done advanced planning."

State of Hawaii

E-mail to City Desk


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