Trash-shipping on the rocks


POSTED: Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The city remains committed to shipping solid waste off island, Mayor Mufi Hannemann said, despite a setback with a contractor that was expected to begin sending trash to the mainland as soon as today.

;[Preview]    Hawaii's Trash Faces Major Delay in Shipping

The city has disqualified the low bidder in its plan to ship garbage to the mainland after the company spent $10 million building a facility here.

Watch ]


When shipping will start and at what cost to taxpayers is unknown because the city has rejected the company's bid.

Hawaiian Waste Systems LLC yesterday protested the city's action. The Seattle-based company had emerged about a year ago as the winning bidder to ship Oahu's waste, but last week was informed by the city it had been “;non-responsive”; in securing the proper permits and for improperly installing a scale at its Oahu processing site.

Hannemann said the city intended to own and operate the scale as a means of controlling the amount of trash sent off island.

That's because trash still will be needed as fuel for HPOWER, the mayor said, as the city prepares to spend $302 million for a third boiler at the island's waste-to-energy plant by late 2011.

Hannemann said he did not want the winning bidder to control the scale and therefore the amount of trash shipped out. “;We need that opala because we want to convert it to energy.”;

A telephone message left after business hours with Hawaiian Waste Systems was not returned yesterday.

In a letter to the city dated June 25—one day after the date of the city's rejection letter—Hawaiian Waste Systems said it had invested $10 million and was trying to work with the city to begin shipping trash July 1 but had been faced with “;unexplained delays.”;

Hannemann said Jim Hodge, the company's chief executive officer, “;made a lot of assumptions that he should not have made.”;

The protest now goes before the city's chief procurement officer. Hawaiian Waste Systems then could appeal. If the city's rejection is upheld, the second-place bidder would be selected for the shipping contract.

City Council Chairman Todd Apo noted the second-place bidder's rate of roughly $185 per ton was about double what Hawaiian Waste Systems would have charged.

“;Whether it's this company or that company, I don't care, but (shipping) needs to be a part of our solid-waste solution,”; Apo said. “;There's at least a couple companies out there looking to do it, but it needs to be fiscally sound as well.”;

Meanwhile, the Council's Executive Matters and Legal Affairs Committee today is scheduled to hear a resolution that would allow private companies to collect and ship trash off island. Hannemann calls it a “;bad idea,”; saying it would hinder the city's ability to control the flow of solid waste.