Monday, May 3, 2004

Sand Island recycling firm
to keep up with pilot plan

A Sand Island recycling yard that was engulfed in flames Friday could be operational within the week, the plant's president said yesterday.

Jim Nutter, of Island Recycling, said the company has backup equipment that will be moved into areas not affected by the fire.

The plant lost more than $600,000 worth of equipment in the blaze, which took firefighters some 24 hours to extinguish.

Damage to the plant's structure and contents is expected to be tallied this week.

The company has the contract to process newspapers, glass and aluminum cans collected in Mililani under the city's pilot curbside recycling program. Mixed recyclables are scheduled to be picked up next week.

Nutter said two tire shredders were destroyed in the blaze, along with other equipment.

Fire officials were still investigating the cause of the blaze yesterday, but Nutter has attributed it to a piece of metal that got into a tire shredder. He said the shredder in question has been taped off, and fire investigators are expected to inspect it today.

"It's a mess," he said. "It's really unfortunate for us to have a fire. We divert 5,000 tons of material from the landfill. We're a needed entity."

No one was injured in the fire.

Island Recycling workers and a contractor hired by the company were working yesterday to clean up debris and oil that got into Kapalama Canal, where a drainage ditch that runs through the plant empties.

Island Recycling employees on site are periodically clearing the booms of any trash that is washed into them, Nutter said.

He said only a "very light sheen" of oil was on the water yesterday. Workers had installed oil-absorbent booms Saturday to filter water running from the plant.

Island Recycling workers were also wading into the water and pulling out ash with pool skimmers.

"There's no health hazard to anybody," Nutter said.

Island Recycling is the apparent low bidder for a city contract to process recyclable collection curbside for 140,000 single-family households on Oahu. However, state officials have said the company cannot be awarded the bid unless it clears up violations of state Health Department rules and city building and zoning regulations.


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