City should keep looking for landfill alternatives
A city consultant has reported that the Waimanalo Gulch Landfill can be expanded without significant environmental harm.
A study concluding that enlarging Waimanalo Gulch Landfill in Leeward Oahu poses no significant environmental problems might relieve pressure to find another landfill site but is not likely to satisfy nearby residents. Opponents of the landfill's expansion maintain that the study's conclusion was predictable to satisfy Mayor Mufi Hannemann's desire. Alternatives should be sought sooner rather than later.
The city proposes to expand the landfill near Ko Olina from 107.5 acres to 200 acres at a cost of $86 million.
The report says aerosol sprayers will reduce the odor, water sprayed on the surface will prevent dust and litter, bulldozers will be equipped with mufflers to cut down on noise, water will be piped out to keep it from mixing with groundwater and traffic will not increase.
The landfill had been scheduled to close at the beginning of this month, but the state Land Use Commission extended it in March by an additional 18 months. The environmental report by city consultant R.M. Towill Corp. proposes to keep it open for 15 more years because no immediate alternatives are available.
If the report is accepted by the commission, the city will have more time to plan shipment of Oahu garbage to the mainland and build a waste-to-energy plant like the HPOWER facility at Campbell Industrial Park. Those alternatives have been considered for years and should be implemented. Meanwhile, the city's curbside recycling, now limited to 20,000 homes in Hawaii Kai and Mililani and scheduled for expansion to 40,000 more homes by the end of this year, should be made islandwide.
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