Waimanalo Gulch landfill breaks federal clean-air rules
Environmental Protection Agency inspectors have found that the Waimanalo Gulch landfill in Kapolei does not meet federal clean-air requirements.
A city official said two new gas collection and control systems at the landfill had exceeded acceptable temperature limits, a red flag for the EPA. Landfills produce hazardous nonmethane and methane gases.
Despite the findings, community affairs manager Russell Nanod for landfill operator Waste Management of Hawaii Inc. said, "We're saying it's not harming the public." The violations "have no effect on providing safe and reliable landfill services to the residents on Hawaii or Oahu," he said.
The EPA announced yesterday it has discovered violations of the Clean Air Act at both Waimanalo Gulch and the West Hawaii landfill in Waikoloa.
The EPA found Honolulu, the County of Hawaii and Waste Management of Hawaii Inc., which operates both landfills, have violated federal environmental regulations. They face fines of up to $32,500 a day, per violation.
The temperature at two wells in a multiple well system at the Waimanalo Gulch landfill had exceeded the 130-degree Fahrenheit acceptable limit, said Eric Takamura, director of the city Department of Environmental Services, but he added that he did not know whether that was part of the violations. Takamura said the company had reported that the Department of Health was investigating the elevated temperatures and that it had reported them to the EPA.
The EPA said the Waimanalo Gulch gas and emissions control system was installed seven years late, last August, and does not meet clean-air standards. At Waikoloa, several reporting requirements were not met, the EPA said. Nanod said those violations can easily be corrected.
Takamura said the city and Waste Management will meet with EPA officials in San Francisco to learn the specifics of the violations.
The EPA said nonmethane gas can adversely affect the respiratory system, cause cancer and damage the nervous system. Methane emissions could result in fires or explosions, the EPA said.
Waste Management also manages the Kekaha landfill on Kauai.