Dump Debacle; Kahuku and not Kailua tops landfill list

Published: Apr. 25, 2012 at 4:42 PM HST|Updated: Apr. 25, 2012 at 11:56 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – People in Kailua are breathing a collective sigh of relief while people from Kaneohe to Haleiwa shudder at the latest news regarding a new landfill.

The Ameron Quarry in Kailua is not the recommended location for Honolulu's next dump as announced Friday. Instead two sites in Kahuku top the city's landfill location list raising fears of increased traffic on Kamehameha Highway.

The consultant compiling statistics for Mayor Peter Carlisle's Advisory Committee on Landfill Site Selection said Wednesday it had made a big mistake. On Friday, just five days ago, the committee announced Kailua as the top ranked location for a new landfill. Its announcement was based on data compiled by SMS Research, a Honolulu firm hired by the city.

But in fact SMS President Jim Dannemiller said Wednesday he had made an "inadvertent data error" while compiling numbers provided by the advisory committee. The mistake changes the positions of almost all eleven potential landfill sites on the site selection list.

A site described as "Upland Kahuku 2" was seventh on the list released Friday. Now it is the new #1. "Upland Kahuku 1," which is adjacent to "Upland Kahuku 2" is second on the revised list.

The Ameron Quarry moved from first on Friday's list to fifth on the revised list.

Here is the new updated list released Wednesday afternoon.

1. Upland Kahuku 2 - (previously ranked #7)

2. Upland Kahuku 1- (previously ranked #3)

3. Upland Pupukea 2 - (previously ranked #6)

4. Upland Pupukea 1 - (previously ranked #4)

5. Ameron Quarry - (previously ranked #1)

6. Upland Nanakuli 1 - (previously ranked #2)

7. Upland Laie - (previously ranked #9)

8. Kea'au - (previously ranked #5)

9. Kaneohe by H-3 - (previously ranked #10)

10. Upland Hawaii Kai - (previously ranked #11)

11. Kapa'a Quarry Road - (previously ranked #8)

When asked if he was relieved, Ameron Hawaii President Wade Wakayama said he is still somewhat concerned the Ameron site is anywhere on the list.

"Statewide we have about 300 employees and each one would be impacted if we lose that part of the quarry," Wakayama said.

Kailua Neighborhood Board Chair Chuck Prentiss, who also serves on the advisory committee, told Hawaii News Now he felt something was askew when data showed the Ameron site as the committee's top choice.

"How come the site can be near the (Kawainui) marsh? How come it can be near the bird sanctuary?" Prentiss wondered.

Now people on the North Shore and Windward Oahu north of Kaneohe are asking a different set of questions.

How could the sites in Kahuku be the best sites for a landfill? Isn't traffic on Kamehameha Highway bad enough without dump trucks coming from every neighborhood on Oahu?

"That's a real challenge, and that's why I'm saying as you look at this I'm concerned that ultimately those locations will not be possible to be used. Then it will put the target right back at Ameron Quarry," said Cynthia Thielen, State Representative serving residents in Kailua and Kaneohe. "These top five are just wrong," she added.

City Council Chair Ernest Martin, who represents the North Shore and much of the Windward Coast, said expressed disappointment over the error. He worries what effect the revised list may have on development plans in and around Kahuku.

"I know that there are a few developments that are being proposed that would severely impact whether they would proceed. You know there's a proposed expansion of Turtle Bay. Additionally Envision Laie is planning to move forward with their residential and community wide development. And I'm sure now with this latest news there's going to be some concerns there whether they can proceed," Martin told reporters.

A spokesperson for the City Department of Environmental Services said the existing landfill at Waimanalo Gulch in Kapolei has room for 15 more years of garbage. And, he said, it will be at least seven years before preparations can be made to open any new landfill no matter where it is placed.

Mayor Carlisle will review the advisory committee's recommendation and select his top location. The City Council will also have a say in deciding the dump site. And there will be public hearings at which residents can voice their opinions.

The following news release was provided by SMS research:

The final ranking of the landfill sites is hereby released to the media and is different from the preliminary ranking that was discussed at the April 20th Mayor's Advisory Committee (Committee) meeting. The difference was caused by a data error that occurred while updating the software program during that meeting.

"Working with the Committee, I made data entries in real time and while doing so, an inadvertent data error occurred," said Mr. Dannemiller of SMS. "Per SMS policy, we verified the data integrity over the weekend. During this procedure I discovered the error and corrected it. The final ranking has been thoroughly verified."

The data error does not affect the integrity of the Committee's process of incorporating community input, weighting the criteria, and overall ranking that has proven to work well and will continue to be used. The Committee will meet very shortly to review the final ranking released today.

As the Committee and City and County of Honolulu (City) has continually confirmed during its meetings, this phase of community ranking is only the first step of a complex process of site reviews. The sites must still undergo cultural, historical, archaeological, engineering, financial and legal reviews and more before final site conclusions are reached.

R. M. Towill Corporation (RMTC) was commissioned by the City as prime consultant responsible for working with the Committee and City to provide technical support during the site identification and ranking process. SMS Research serves as a subconsultant to RMTC responsible for statistical analysis and support. The Committee was tasked with developing and applying community-based criteria to identify and rank potential landfill sites.

The nine member committee came up with a list of 19 different criteria.  Things like proximity to homes, schools and tourist attractions as well has rainfall, impact on endangered species and cost.

Click HERE to see the updated site scores sheet

We will have more on this story tonight on Hawaii News Now and HawaiiNewsNow.com.

Related Story:

Committee recommends site in Kailua for next landfill

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