20 more months for landfill sought
It will not hit capacity before its state permit expires, the city says
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The city administration wants to keep the Waimanalo Gulch Landfill open an additional 20 months beyond May 1, 2008, when a state land-use permit expires, because the permitted capacity limit has not been reached.
Wilma Namumnart, chief of the city Solid Waste Division, told the City Council's Planning and Sustainability Committee the reason the city is asking for the extension is because the amount of trash being taken in is less than projected.
"The inflow (of garbage) is not as high as was anticipated, so the five-year time limit will be reached but the capacity will not," Namumnart told Council members. "We have not reached the permitted elevation."
The city estimates that it will take about two years for the city to reach the permitted level of waste at the landfill, Namumnart said.
The application to keep the landfill open until December 2009 will first go to the city Department of Planning and Permitting, then the Planning Commission and finally the state Land Use Commission.
The life of the Waimanalo Gulch Landfill is at the heart of a push by the City Council for plans to ship garbage off island.
Some Council members argue that a combination of expanding curbside recycling, turning waste into electricity at HPOWER and shipping garbage off island could reduce or eliminate the need for landfill to take in daily municipal waste. A landfill could be kept open, they contend, for emergencies only.
Others on the Council, however, think that shipping trash is too costly.
Councilman Todd Apo, who represents the district that includes the landfill, sounding a bit frustrated, grilled administration officials on what would happen should the state Land Use Commission not extend the landfill permit.
"We're a year away from it and so we better have some idea," Apo said.
"Right now our goal is to keep the landfill, and we're going to try everything that we've got," responded Martin Okabe, executive assistant to the city environmental services director.
The city's application to expand the landfill is also on hold because an environmental impact statement has been delayed by the discovery of "culturally significant" stones on the proposed expansion site. The stones are thought to have been used for ancient navigational purposes.
The EIS process is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Environmental Services Director Eric Takamura said the plan is either to work around the site of the stones or move the stones to another location, depending on what the state historical preservation officials directs the city to do.
The committee approved Resolution 07-151 yesterday, "encouraging" the administration to authorize the off-island shipment of trash to reduce the amount going to the landfill.
Jim Hodge, chief executive officer with Seattle-based Hawaiian Waste Systems, told the committee that his company could ship almost any kind of trash to the Roosevelt Regional Landfill in Washington state, including bulky items such as mattresses and ash from the city's HPOWER waste-to-energy plant.
He said his company, which is also planning for a facility to compact and wrap waste in Campbell Industrial Park, would need to barge overseas a consistent volume of 100,000 tons of trash a year to make the venture feasible but could get the operation running by the first quarter of 2008.