Advertisement - Click to support our sponsors.

Tuesday, April 11, 2000

Waimanalo board
OKs Unisyn waste
cleanup plan

Soil testing will be done to
make sure no nutrients have sunk
as far down as the level
of ground water.

By Harold Morse


The simmering dispute over cleanup of the defunct Unisyn biowaste facility at Waimanalo moved a step closer to resolution last night.

The Waimanalo Neighborhood Board voted unanimously to approve a draft closure plan to clean up the site.

About 60 residents observed the vote at the Waimanalo Library after listening to a presentation on the plan.

As of Dec. 3, Meadow Gold Dairies, which had subleased the land to Unisyn, has been committed to the cleanup. Unisyn stopped receiving and processing garbage March 31, 1999. It stopped operating at that time because it could not afford to meet government standards. Later it could not afford the required cleanup.

Michael Heihre, Meadow Gold attorney, said Unisyn was processing food waste from restaurants and commercial food operations and converting this waste into compost for recycling as fertilizer.

Unisyn ran afoul of the neighborhood and of economics, winding up in bankruptcy, Heihre said. Meadow Gold leased the land from the state in 1990 and subleased it to Unisyn, which left a substantial amount of waste at the site when it ceased operations, he said.

Heihre told the board before the vote that only two points needed board approval because all other issues had been worked out.

One question involved the truck used to haul away waste from the site. Soil testing was the other.

The disposal truck manufacturer and the contractor have been asked to provide additional information on ways to minimize objectionable odors in operations, Heihre said.

Additional odor-masking devices or filters are possibilities, he said.

The truck to be used in transporting waste from the site has a 3,000-gallon tank, he explained. There are two types of site waste -- solids and liquids, he said. The truck will collect them the way a large vacuum cleaner would, Heihre said.

Soil testing will be done to make sure no nutrients have sunk as far down as the level of ground water, also to determine that nutrients will not be concentrated enough to saturate runoff and cause pollution in nearby stream water, Heihre said.

Thirty-six soil samples -- all about five feet apart -- will be taken in borings to a depth of 25 feet, which the Board of Water Supply sees as a safe level, he said.

Borings will determine levels present of three types of nutrients: nitrates, phosphorous and potassium, Heihre said.

Later, outside the meeting room, Heihre told a reporter the goal is to avoid having the nutrients get into ground water or surface water. These nutrients -- used as fertilizer ingredients -- cause plant or algae growth that clouds streams and ground water, he said.

Testing will determine what amount of these nutrients is present and at what depth to assess whether they pose dangers, Heihre said.

E-mail to City Desk

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]

© 2000 Honolulu Star-Bulletin