Plan turns garbage to compost
A special system is key to the private landfill proposed in Nanakuli
A private partnership wants to compost and bury up to 160,000 tons of municipal garbage a year in Nanakuli.
The centerpiece of the system that Leeward Land LLC proposes is composting garbage underneath huge, airtight tarps made of Gore-Tex -- the same material that's used in high-end rain gear, said Greg Apa, president of the company.
The company has not applied for the various state and city approvals needed to open a landfill.
The Gore-Tex material is supposed to hold in more than 90 percent of the odor of the composting garbage while allowing moisture from it to evaporate, Apa said.
The composting process will be speeded by pumping air through windows 25 feet wide and 10 feet tall. After a month or two, the weight and mass of the garbage will be cut in half, Apa said.
The technology, which first grinds garbage into 3- to 4-inch pieces, is used at 130 locations in the world, Apa said yesterday. Although other U.S. locations process only yard clippings, it is used in Europe for municipal garbage, he said.
The proposed site is 172 acres across Lualualei Naval Magazine Road from PVT Construction and Demolition Landfill, which has operated there since 1988.
PVT is one of three existing refuse-related companies that would participate in the partnership, along with Leeward Land, which was formed for this project. The others are Honolulu Disposal Service Inc., where Apa is a vice president, and Central Oahu Recycling and Disposal. Honolulu Disposal Service is Hawaii's largest private trash hauler.
Leeward Land calculates that it could landfill 14 million cubic yards of composted refuse at the site over a life of 15 to 18 years, said Stephen Joseph, who is general manager of PVT Landfill and would also manage the proposed Leeward Land landfill.
Joseph said the operation would create 10 to 15 new jobs and the company would hire from the area.
Leeward Land also is proposing that it would offer the surrounding community a monetary compensation for hosting the landfill. The company is talking about $200,000 a year, Apa said.
Charley Bollig, who lives nearby, said he and his wife wouldn't mind the landfill. They've already insulated and air-conditioned their home to keep out the smell and sound of nearby pig and chicken farms, he said. That should handle any added noise or smell from a landfill, he said.
But Francine Gohier, who has lived in Nanakuli for 10 years, said she opposes another landfill there, even if it supposedly doesn't stink.
Apa and Joseph said Leeward Land has spent about $500,000 in the past year to conduct archaeology, natural resource, traffic and soil studies for the site. Results tell them that the site is good landfill site, they said. Developing the composting operation and landfill would cost $60 million, they said.
The site was first proposed as a landfill site in 1976, Joseph said. It is zoned for agriculture use but has poor soil, he said.
It made the short list of sites considered last year by the City Council for the city's next municipal landfill. Leeward Land announced its intentions to develop a privately run landfill after it was not chosen by the city.
The proposed landfill would be constructed starting on the Nanakuli side and work up into the valley, Joseph said.
A grinder to get the garbage to uniform size would be located on the mauka end of the property inside a 10,000-square-foot building that resembles a garbage transfer station.