PIGS OUT: LANDLORD-TENANT ISSUE SHUTS HOG FARM
Closure leaves wastes behind
The recent closure of a Maui piggery has not had a major impact on food waste disposal so far, Maui County officials said.
However, local waste haulers say customers are scrambling to find a place to dispose of tons of food waste generated daily.
The piggery, Maui Hog, used to collect 3 to 4 tons of food waste to feed its pigs every day, said manager Larry Poffenroth. The piggery has been closed since Oct. 19, he said.
"They're (food haulers) scurrying around now trying to cover their customers," Poffenroth said.
Puaa Foodwaste Service, Maui's largest food waste hauler, had to shut down its service in Lahaina because it wasn't able to accommodate the liquid food waste.
"It's such a sad situation right now," said Kim Puaa, owner of the company along with her husband Bill.
Puaa said they sent letters to eight resorts in Lahaina telling them they could no longer take the food. It was a loss of 75 percent of her business.
Puaa is still taking food wastes in Wailea because there are pig farmers there.
The county put out an advisory to food waste haulers noting that liquid food waste is prohibited at the landfill.
The county Department of Environment Management issued a letter Friday pointing out "all liquid waste must be solidified or absorbed in other materials."
If the food waste has liquids, "you have to take out the soup," Puaa said, adding that she doesn't know how they would do it. "It makes it quite difficult."
She said her company is working with the county to come up with an alternative.
Mahina Martin, Maui County community relations and communications director, said yesterday the piggery was closed in a landlord-tenant issue.
It's on Alexander & Baldwin land and "for whatever reason, they terminated the lease," she said. A little more than 300 pigs are still there and are being fed grain by A & B, she said.
The county is affected by the piggery's closure, but there are other pig farms on the island, Martin said. "We'd like to make sure it doesn't become an overwhelming concern."
The advisory was issued to ensure that haulers look to other sources and don't try to dump liquid waste at the landfill, she said.
Cheryl Okuma, director of the county's environmental management department, said in the letter: "We are hoping that this situation will be resolved soon and appreciate the industry's efforts to divert the sizable volume of food waste. Our landfills must remain in compliance with our operating permit (from the state Department of Health)."