Landfill remains closed, residents must hold on to bulky trash

Ken Williams
Ken Williams

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

KAPOLEI (HawaiiNewsNow) - The problems at the Waimanalo Gulch Landfill are worse than expected.  The city had hoped to reopen the dump tomorrow. Instead it will be at least another week before the landfill starts accepting trash again. The new target date is January 27.

Meanwhile the city is running out of time to find another option.  The permit on the landfill is set to expire in just a year and a half and there is virtually no way a new site could be found, approved and built in that timeframe.

That's the long-term issue but right now repairs need to be made so the city can take in bulky trash again.

Water trucks continue to pour out of the landfill.  They are collecting the storm water, and then driving it to drain pipes that flush into the Waianae Waste Water Treatment plant.  Workers say there's still so much water it will take more than a week to remove.

Crews also discovered the landfills inner liner needs repairs which is why it will remain closed until at least next Thursday.  That affects bulky trash pickup and convenience center drop-offs.  The city still won't accept things like couches, mattresses and furniture until the landfill reopens.  However metal appliances like refrigerators, freezers, washers, dryers, water heaters and ranges are okay.

The city will continue normal cart service pickup for the gray trash, blue recycling and green waste bins.

Meanwhile the Ko Olina sand cleaning machine is chugging along combing the beaches and divers are going in the water with metal detectors searching for trash.  They say all the rubbish and medical waste is gone and the beaches are clean.  Still the lagoons remain closed.

"We have heard the bacteria count has dropped progressively at a good clip during the week," said Ken Williams, Ko Olina Executive Vice President and Resort Manager.  "These lagoons were designed to flush out every ounce of water multiple times every 24 hours."

The state is supposed to study all the factors and tell the city when to remove the warning signs, meaning Ko Olina beaches remain empty.

"Our resort depends on its number one asset, this pristine lagoon, the pacific ocean, the marine life the whole bit," said Williams.

At the very latest the resort expects the all clear by Sunday.

"Anyone in this business would worry about the image of something like this but the best thing to do is clean it up and move on," said Williams.

Surfers have moved on.  Up the road at Tracks beach in Nanakuli it was packed despite the warning signs to keep out.  The waves were too good to just watch and surfers weren't worried about brown water.

"As long as you don't have too many open wounds to get the leptospirosis and everything is okay," said Bri, surfer from Nanakuli.

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