Wednesday, November 24, 1999

Fire but no cleanup yet
at Waimanalo waste plant

By Harold Morse


A group called Waimanalo Citizens for a Healthy Future says the Unisyn Biowaste Technology plant is an environmental disaster that has not been cleaned up.

The state says it is still working with Unisyn to get them to do the cleanup at the Waimanalo site at 41-249 Waikupanaha St.

The plant stopped receiving garbage March 31.

The group says the site on state land caught fire Nov. 21 and that although no one was injured and no nearby property was damaged, the fire brought back unpleasant odors.

A massive green waste pile left over from the waste-processing plant ignited only a short distance from old fuel storage tanks and other structures, the group said.

"We are still working with Unisyn and their attorneys on resolving the matter," said Patrick Johnston, state Health Department spokesman.

"They are responsible for cleaning up the site, and we have issued a notice of violation, an order," he said. "The notice of violation ordered Unisyn to come up with a closure plan -- that is, a plan to clean up the facility and shut down the site, and they have not come up with a plan."

Johnston said Unisyn was ordered to have the place cleaned up by the end of August.

Although it's possible Unisyn might be fined for failing to carry out the cleanup, "the most important thing is to ensure that the facility is cleaned up -- and that is what we are focusing on right now," Johnston said.

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