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Landfill diversion channel 'fully functional,' operator says

By Star-Advertiser Staff

LAST UPDATED: 10:44 a.m. HST, Feb 15, 2011

A $15 million water diversion channel at the Waimanalo Gulch landfill, built after rains last month sent medical waste into the ocean, is fully functional as of today, the landfill operator says.

But the landfill remains closed to the public because work still needs to be completed on the western and southern ends of the landfill, said Markus Owens, a spokesman for the city's Department of Environmental Services.

The city hasn't determined when the Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill, closed since Jan. 12, will be reopened to the public.

Waste Management of Hawaii, which operates the landfill, said the $15 million storm water diversion channel is designed to direct floodwaters around the main area of the landfill instead of through it.

During the January storm muddy water and rubbish, including medical waste, flowed into the ocean, then washed up on beaches over a several days. The landfill re-opened for bulky waste at the end of last month, but remains closed to the public.

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