City reviews bids to ship Oahu trash
The city has received bids from three companies to ship a portion of the island's trash to a mainland landfill at prices significantly higher than some city officials expected.
The City Council has pushed the administration to ship trash as a way to alleviate the burden on the island's only landfill, Waimanalo Gulch, and some members had anticipated prices to be about $70 per ton. Bids unsealed earlier this week ranged from just under $100 to a little more than $200 per ton.
Despite the proposed higher costs, Councilman Gary Okino said he is confident the city will still ship trash to the West Coast.
"It may cost us several million more a year,
but I think that's worth it, especially if the alternative is to look for another landfill."
Gary Okino / Chairman of the City Council's Planning and Sustainability Committee
"It's workable," said Okino, chairman of the Council's Planning and Sustainability Committee. "I think $200 a ton is not workable. It may cost us several million more a year, but I think that's worth it, especially if the alternative is to look for another landfill."
The city will review the bids for the next two to four weeks before awarding a possible contract, starting with the lowest bid at $99.83 per ton from Seattle-based Hawaiian Waste Systems.
If this company does not meet the city's requirements, workers will move on to the other companies. The other bids received include $184.47 per ton from Simcoe Environmental Services Inc. of Washington and $204.21 per ton from Off-Island Transfer.
"It will be interesting to see how these companies broke up all their prices," said Ken Shimizu, deputy director of the Department of Environmental Services. "It's kind of unusual that the other two bids are so different in pricing."
The city's contract is set to begin July 1, 2009, to ship 100,000 tons a year. The city had allocated $7 million in its upcoming budget, though it does not anticipate using up that money since it will take several months before a company can ship trash, Shimizu said.
The company awarded the contract would need to find and own a facility, while the city would own the scale to weigh the trash.
Hawaiian Waste Systems has told city officials it could start shipping trash by the end of this year, though officials remain doubtful it could happen that soon.
Councilman Donovan Dela Cruz said shipping trash is only a part of the city's solid-waste plan and criticized the administration for not developing a long-term plan, which was expected earlier this year.
During and since the Harris administration, the city has considered shipping trash to reduce the load going to Waimanalo Gulch Landfill, a contentious issue for Leeward Coast residents with the city proposing it remain open for an additional 15 years.