Sunday, November 29, 2015         

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City resists dump deadline

By Gary T. Kubota


Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle's administration is appealing a state deadline of July 31, 2012, to shut down the dumping of solid waste at the Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill on the Waianae Coast.

City spokesman Jim Fulton said yesterday the city wants to extend the deadline imposed by the state Land Use Commission.

"The city has appealed this deadline (to the commission) and is exploring other options for amending this deadline," Fulton said, declining to elaborate on the other options.

Former state Health Director Bruce Anderson said the city probably will not have a new landfill site in operation by the 2012 deadline, in light of the lengthy permit process.

Anderson, a member of a voluntary mayoral advisory committee appointed to look for an alternate site, said his experience tells him the city will be unable to bring into operation a new alternative solid-waste landfill by the deadline.

"It's practically impossible," Anderson said.

Anderson said that going through the permit process for a landfill takes about five to six years.

In 2009 the city was allowed by the Land Use Commission to extend its use of the landfill for an additional three years, despite opposition by some Waianae residents.

Beaches from Kahe Point to Ko Olina were closed Jan. 14 after major storm runoff at the landfill entered the ocean. Medical waste including syringes was found on the beaches at Ko Olina.

State health spokeswoman Janice Okubo said the beaches could reopen this weekend, depending on information it receives about ocean and shoreline conditions.

Okubo has said tests this week showed the bacterial levels were decreasing and returning to normal.

The city said the landfill will remain closed to all haulers until at least Thursday.

Operator Waste Management of Hawaii has determined the landfill will require repairs before it is able to safely accept waste again.

At this time its refuse crews cannot pick up carpets, chairs, sofas, mattresses, box springs, toilets and home renovation debris, the city said. But the city can collect metal appliances, including refrigerators, freezers, washers, dryers, water heaters and ranges.

Two City Council committees will meet jointly Monday to discuss a status report of the cleanup. The meeting of the Committee on Safety, Economic Development and Government Affairs and Committee on Public Works and Sustainability starts at 9 a.m. at the Council's committee meeting room.

The Mayor's Advisory Committee on Landfill Site Selection is scheduled to hold several public meetings at the mayor's conference room at 9 a.m. Feb. 10, March 10 and 31, May 12, June 23 and July 21.

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