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EPA orders city to fix Waimanalo Gulch landfill problems

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 12:39 p.m. HST, Nov 30, 2011

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is ordering the city and a contractor to take immediate steps to address storm water violations at the Waimanalo Gulch Landfill stemming from wastewater overflow and beach contamination last winter. 

"The City and County of Honolulu and Waste Management must quickly complete work on storm water protections at the landfill," said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA's regional administrator. "We will be closely monitoring the work so runoff from future storms is properly controlled and residents' health and Oahu's coastal waters are protected."

An ongoing review of landfill operations revealed violations of the Clean Water Act and the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit regulating storm water discharges from the landfill, the EPA said.

The EPA found the city and Waste Management, the contractor operating the landfill, failed to comply with the state's stormwater permit on at least three occasions in connection with wastewater spills and beach contamination in December 2010 and January 2011 caused by heavy rains.

According to a news release, the city and Waste Management failed to:

>> prevent runoff of surface water that had come into contact with waste

>> control erosion to prevent loss of landfill cover or washout of refuse slopes

>> properly manage leachate and 

>> retain and remove silt from surface water before it was discharged from the site.

The EPA ordered the city and Waste Management to complete work to separate storm water generated outside of the landfill from storm water generated at the landfill; submit a study to EPA to evaluate the adequacy of the landfill's storm water detention basin pond and an enhanced stormwater monitoring plan, and submit monthly reports. 

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