STAR-BULLETIN / 2006
Two vehicles compact trash while a truck dumps its waste at Waimanalo Gulch Landfill.
2 plans for trash
With less than four months before the possible closing of Waimanalo Gulch Landfill, Mayor Mufi Hannemann announced two key initiatives yesterday to help solve the city's long-standing trash disposal problem.
After years of discussion that started before the Hannemann administration and after repeated requests from the City Council, the city will begin shipping trash to the mainland next year and build another boiler in its HPOWER waste-to-energy plant by 2011 that could burn up to 300,000 more tons of waste.
One wrinkle: The HPOWER plant creates ash that must be buried in a landfill.
"I'm trying to do everything I can to obviate the need for landfill," Hannemann said yesterday at a news conference. "You need to have (a landfill), but you also have to show what you are doing, which was always the missing piece of the city's plan in the past. Prior to us coming into office, it was just looking at the landfill."
The city will issue bids next week for companies to ship 100,000 tons of trash annually. They expect to award a contract by July 1 and begin shipments next year or sooner.
The city administration had for years considered shipping trash to help decrease the 400,000 tons of trash going to the landfill every year. After struggling in recent months to find a solution to control the trash that would be barged, Hannemann said the city will own the scales that weigh the waste before it is moved. This way, the city will not lose revenue if a private company were responsible for the entire process.
Under Hannemann's plan the city will complete construction of a third boiler in its HPOWER plant in Campbell Industrial Park in 2011. Hannemann said this option is more than $100 million cheaper than an earlier plan to expand the plant to include alternate technologies to burn waste.
"We have always maintained that this is a form of energy recycling, and we want to expand upon that," Hannemann said.
Longtime critics of the landfill praised the city's plan to reduce solid waste but maintain that more could be done.
City Councilman Todd Apo said these actions would "truly make a difference" in disposing of solid waste. However, he still would like to see the landfill in his district closed.
"I don't think (shipping trash) is a long-term solution," Apo said. "It's the interim solution that's going to help fill in the gap that we need right now."
Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, a longtime landfill critic who represents the Leeward Coast area, questioned the timing of Hannemann's announcement since these issues were brought up years ago. A city panel approved the city's application Wednesday for a two-year permit extension for Waimanalo Gulch that expires May 1 -- a final decision now left to the state Land Use Commission.
"It's curious that all of a sudden they're going to do the third boiler," Hanabusa said. "I hope it's not being used as a ploy to play into this whole argument of flow control. If they increase to a third boiler, they would increase more rubbish flow, which would make the landfill issue a critical component of it."
About 100,000 tons of ash from HPOWER go to the landfill. Hannemann said the city had waited this long because several years ago, City Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi, then Budget Committee chairwoman, was "adverse" to a third boiler and had pushed for alternate technologies.
Kobayashi said she is disappointed the city is not seeking alternate technologies anymore. "There are hundreds of tons of ashes that have to go to the landfill because the technology is so old that they can't get rid of everything," she said.
SHIPPING AND HPOWER
Mayor Mufi Hannemann announced two measures yesterday that would help the city deal with the island's solid-waste issues:
Shipping Trash in 2009
» The city will seek bids next week from companies interested in shipping 100,000 tons of trash annually.
» A contract is scheduled to be awarded July 1 with shipment to begin next year.
Increased Waste-to-Energy power in 2011
» The city will build a third boiler at its HPOWER plant to be completed in 2011 that can burn an additional 300,000 tons of trash a year.
» The city is scrapping plans to expand the plant to include alternate technologies, which would have cost upward of $100 million more and taken years longer, Hannemann said.