Waianae residents upset at dumping of ash into quarry
Pacific Aggregate seeks permission to establish a landfill at its facility in Maili
About 80 Waianae Coast residents expressed dismay last night in Maili when they were told that the nearby Pacific Aggregate Quarry has been putting coal ash into the quarry for several years.
Many attended a community meeting to hear more about how they could protest Pacific Aggregate's application to create a construction and demolition landfill in used parts of the 50-year-old and still-operating quarry.
Environmental watchdog Carroll Cox, representing his EnviroWatch nonprofit organization, alleged that public records show Pacific Aggregate has been taking coal ash into the quarry without a permit.
The ash is a byproduct of coal burning at AES Hawaii's plant in Campbell Industrial Park to generate electricity.
Some at the community meeting, including Waianae Coast Neighborhood Board Chairwoman Cynthia Rezentes, said they knew the quarry receives the ash, in addition to crushed concrete.
But others said they had no idea that the Pacific Aggregate Quarry already is receiving ash and concrete rubble in advance of receiving necessary state and city permits to operate.
Pacific Aggregate and AES couldn't be reached for comment yesterday afternoon.
Steve Chang, chief of the state Department of Health Solid and Hazardous Waste Branch, confirmed late yesterday afternoon that Pacific Aggregate has been receiving ash from AES for some time.
Chang said the Health Department recently completed a study to reassess the acceptability of placing the ash in the quarry. However, he was not able to cite the company's current permit status.
The company has a Health Department application in progress to become a construction and demolition landfill. The proposed landfill also would require approval from the state Land Use Commission, which is expected to hear testimony on the matter in March.
Cox claimed that putting ash into the quarry is improper.
Several residents said they were willing to sign a petition protesting the ash in the landfill, but former Waianae City Councilmember John DeSoto, at the meeting yesterday as Mayor Mufi Hannemann's representative, asked that they let him see what the mayor can do.
DeSoto said he and Hannemann hadn't known ash was going into the quarry -- or heard Cox's allegations that the quarry's permit has expired. He said he will tell the mayor to stop the operation until more could be learned about what is in the coal ash.
Attorney Andrea Heckler, who lives in Maili, said she will represent the area residents for free in any legal action on the landfill plans.