KAPOLEI (HawaiiNewsNow) - "I'm looking at at least three hours," Kaleo Galarsa said. He was one of scores of trash truck drivers caught in a slow crawl Tuesday inside the Waimanalo Gulch Landfill.
"There's a big wait because of the amount of waste that's coming into the landfill," said Joe Whelan, general manager of Waste Management of Hawaii, the company that manages the landfill.
At its peak the long line numbered about 50 trash trucks and a two- to three-hour wait on the winding dirt road that leads to the end of the line.
Three factors created a perfect storm for the slow down.
One was the landfill's new dumping ground. The v-shaped cell narrows at the bottom so fewer trucks can unload simultaneously.
"If there's a chance that a truck could roll over, we don't want to take any chance of it hitting another vehicle," Whelan said.
Another reason is that HPOWER's waste burning plant is closed until Friday for maintenance.
That means five times more trash for the landfill and more trucks making more trips.
"It's just taking a little bit longer to get everything done," said Greg Apa, senior vice president of Honolulu Disposal Service. "People are calling about why haven't (their trash loads) been picked up today? We just say a little patience and we'll get it to you."
The third reason for the gulch gridlock is the day of the week.
"Mondays and Tuesdays are the biggest days for waste collection because most of the waste is generated on the weekend because of the tourist based economy," Whelan said.
He said the landfill is opening an hour earlier and closing an hour later to work around the slow down.
Whelan said the long line will lessen as the week wears on.
"I'm missing out on the surf today," Galarsa said.
He and other truckers caught spinning their wheels can't wait for the long wait to end.