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Shipping out


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POSTED: Saturday, September 26, 2009

More than two months after its planned startup date, a private company is now ready to begin accepting Oahu's trash for shipping to a mainland dump site.

Operations at Hawaiian Waste Systems' $10 million Campbell Industrial Park facility commence Monday.

Each week about 2,000 tons of trash that would otherwise go to the Waimanalo Gulch Landfill will instead be delivered to Hawaiian Waste Systems for processing, which includes compacting, wrapping and baling.

The first barge of about 8,000 tons will not leave for the mainland until late October or early November, said Tim Hodge, counsel for Hawaiian Waste Systems.

Hawaiian Waste Systems had planned to start July 1, but was informed just days before launch that its bid was being terminated for being “;nonresponsive.”; The city said the company failed to obtain proper permits and had prematurely installed a scale at its processing facility, raising questions over who would control the flow of trash off island.

Hawaiian Waste Systems protested, but the two sides reached an agreement last month on a three-year contract that turns over scale operations to the city.

“;We're thrilled to get started,”; Hodge said.

The contract allows shipment of up to 100,000 tons of trash off island each year, at a cost of about $100 per ton. Mayor Mufi Hannemann emphasized that shipping is only temporary, until a third boiler is operational at the city's waste-to-energy HPOWER plant by late 2011 or early 2012.

Yesterday's shipping announcement came a day after the state Land Use Commission ruled the city must stop sending solid waste to Waimanalo Gulch landfill by July 31, 2012. After that, only ash and residue from HPOWER would be allowed. The ruling contains 19 conditions and a stipulation that no extension be granted if the city cannot meet the new deadline.

The landfill was scheduled to close Nov. 1, but the city argued for a 15-year extension, saying the facility is needed while alternative disposal methods are developed. Opponents led by state Sen. Colleen Hanabusa and City Council Chairman Todd Apo, who represent the Leeward district that includes the landfill, say the landfill should close as promised by past city officials.

“;All in all, I'm pleased that at least the Land Use Commission recognized that what Colleen Hanabusa was suggesting was foolhardy, unrealistic and that we need more time with that landfill,”; Hannemann said.

Hannemann called the three-year deadline “;shortsighted,”; noting that it takes seven to eight years to open a new landfill, and that the city will always need some form of landfill for emergency purposes and HPOWER residue.

“;That landfill has to go someplace,”; he said. “;All the studies have shown that the best place to do this would be Nanakuli, which I am very much opposed to.”;

If Waimanalo Gulch were to close and, based on previous studies, a new landfill placed in Nanakuli, Hannemann said it would be Hanabusa and Apo who would have to “;face the music”; for forcing it into the community.

Apo said the mayor was resorting to “;scare tactics,”; while Hanabusa called it “;bullying”; and “;pitting one community against the other.”;

“;That's not what this is all about,”; she said. “;The city has had more than ample time to find another landfill site.”;