Waimanalo Gulch only landfill option for years - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Waimanalo Gulch only landfill option for years

By Lisa Kubota - bio | email

LEEWARD OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Waimanalo Gulch Landfill will be closed longer than expected due to storm damage, but that is a small setback compared to the impossible task city officials face trying to find another dump site before the deadline. The city administration admits that it will take years to open a new dump. In the meantime, the city plans to seek another extension for the Leeward Oahu landfill since the existing permit expires at the end of July 2012.

Water trucks are busy working at the Waimanalo Gulch Landfill. Workers are collecting storm runoff, and sending it through pipes that lead to the Waianae Wastewater Treatment Plant. Crews also discovered the landfill's lining needs to be repaired. The dump will remain shut down until at least January 27. The extended closure affects bulky trash pickup and convenience center drop-offs.

Residents and businesses in the area are frustrated by the latest landfill problems. The lagoons at Ko Olina are still closed, and the resort wants to make sure this doesn't happen again.

"The most permanent remedy would be to close down the landfill as scheduled next year July 2012," said Ken Williams, Ko Olina VP and Resort Manager.

But the city is already starting the process of seeking another extension.

"If we can't get the landfill permit to go beyond the middle of 2012 then we will have to be coming up with some other serious alternatives," said city managing director Doug Chin.

A landfill siting committee held its first meeting this week, but city officials stress it's still early in the process of reviewing potential sites.

"You're gonna see things like Koko Head Crater, you're gonna see Diamond Head. I mean all of these things are gonna be identified on the thing. Does that mean that's where it's gonna go? I can't say because that's gonna be up to the committee," said Environmental Services director Tim Steinberger.

The Waimanalo Gulch Landfill opened back in 1989. The city has had trouble finding an alternate site since then. Officials have been expanding and extending the use of Oahu's main dump.

"An alternative needs to be found. An alternative doesn't necessarily have to be another landfill site. If it is, it is. But if it's not, it could be some new technology a menu of things," said Williams.

The landfill committee will come up a list of recommendations in the next 6 to 8 months. The city would have to prepare an environmental impact statement for a new landfill. The Department of Health and the Honolulu City Council would also need to approve the project.

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