Agreement reached on trash that never shipped to mainland

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

KAPOLEI (HawaiiNewsNow) - The wait is over for 20,000 tons of unshipped trash on Oahu.

After a plan to ship it to the Mainland failed, the city will now move it to the H-Power plant.

It's part of an agreement with Hawaiian Waste Systems. The trash has been sitting in the Campbell Industrial Park for about a year now.

But the city says in just five months, it won't be there anymore. The city thought they had a plan when these bales of solid waste first started showing up about a year ago.

It would be shipped to the Mainland to help reduce the amount of trash going to the Waimanalo Gulch.

But the city pulled the plug on that plan, after federal permits could not be obtained.

Now it's on to Plan "B." It's one that involves Hawaiian Waste Systems, which is the same company the city was working with to ship the trash off Oahu.

"This facility has a shredder and a crusher, our current H-Power facility doesn't have one, so what you see in the bales is crushed opala, it's easy to burn that way and so they're going to be trucking this opala over to H-Power, just down the street, at no expense to the city," Acting Honolulu mayor Kirk Caldwell said.

Once at H-Power, it will be processed into electricity and the rest will be sent to the Waimanalo Gulch.

"We in turn are going to be waving our tip fee, so that they can dispose of it that way," Caldwell said.

So as not to overwhelm H-Power or the landfill, the waste will be steadily added to the flow of material to those facilities over around 20 weeks.

After that, the city will enter into a one-year contract with HWS to continue to take trash from convenience centers and deliver it to H-Power.

This will give the city time to finish up building its third boiler, which should be done late next year.

"The third boiler will have a mass burn unit, meaning it can take really bulky things," Caldwell said.

West Oahu activist Maeda Timson says it's about time something's being done to move the trash.

"Absolutely great, my goodness, couldn't it be sooner, we've had that junk sitting there for so many months," she said. "For now getting rid of this mess is what they need to do, whatever it needs to get rid of it, the soonest the better."

The disposal process will begin once a formal settlement agreement has been completed and signed within the next 15 days.

Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.