HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Tuesday issued an order to Waste Management, Inc., with the company agreeing to take immediate steps to clean up recent releases of waste and contaminated stormwater and prevent future releases from the Waimanalo Gulch Landfill on Oahu.
Waste Management is the contractor operating the landfill for the City and County of Honolulu. On Jan. 12 and 13, heavy rains caused extreme flooding at the landfill. A section of the landfill's property filled with stormwater, causing waste to be released and resulting in beach contamination and beach closures.
"This catastrophic failure subjected Hawaii's residents, visitors and coastal waters to a deluge of contaminated runoff, medical waste, and other trash. Our order requires immediate cleanup, continued monitoring of the beaches, and enhanced controls for stormwater runoff," said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA's Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. "EPA is working closely with the state Department of Health to prevent future incidents and protect residents' health and the environment."
EPA dispatched an emergency responder and engineers to assist the state and the city with the response at the landfill. The response included monitoring ocean water and any water released from the landfill, stabilization of the site, and cleanup of waste from the landfill that reached nearby beaches.