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Kenoi seeks quick building of waste-to-energy facility

The environmental chief also wants the Hilo landfill kept open

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 01:39 a.m. HST, Jul 01, 2013

<br /><br />STAR-ADVERTISER / MARCH 2002<br />@Caption1:A resident prepares to dump a load of scrap metal roofing at the Hilo landfill. <br />Environmental Management Director-designate Bobby Jean Leithead Todd wants to extend use of the landfill another five to seven years beyond the previous estimate of five years.<br />

KAILUA-KONA » Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi says he's confident a plant that burns solid waste to generate electricity can be built before he leaves office in 31⁄2 years, but the Big Island's newly appointed environmental management director says the life of Hilo landfill should be extended in case it is not.

Bobby Jean Leithead Todd, who still must be confirmed by the County Council, told the Environmental Management Commission on Wednesday that her office is seeking a consultant who can design techniques to keep the landfill open for five to seven years beyond the previous estimate of five years. The extension, Leithead Todd said, is needed to ensure time for alternatives such as the trash incinerator.

"We are very preliminarily looking at alternatives," Leithead Todd said. "Given the history of the procurement process, we'll probably need that extra time."

Kenoi did not attend the meeting, but said in an interview with West Hawaii Today that the process should not take that long.

"Our goal is to have in the next 31⁄2 years a long-term solution on the ground and implemented," he said. "Any project can take years. We've never let previous timelines stymie us."

The County Council in 2008 killed a proposal by Mayor Harry Kim to build a $125 million waste-to-energy facility because of the cost. Costs rose from early estimates of $60 million or less after contractor Wheelabrator Technologies Inc. tallied the expense of permits, materials and labor.

One potential obstacle to a facility, Leithead Todd said, is the county's current waste stream. The county generates about 419 tons per day, and experts say 500 tons per day is needed to make waste-to-energy incineration economical with current technology.

"I basically said I'm going to come into this job with an open mind," Leithead Todd said. "We'll see what's out there. It has to be consistent with the amount that we have."

Kenoi said Honolulu's HPOWER garbage incinerator has shown what can be done. According to its website, HPOWER burns 2,000 tons per day and provides 7 percent of Oahu's electricity.

"HPOWER has been a model that's worked in Hawaii for two decades," Kenoi said. "The technology has been developed, and we look forward to implementing that solution."

Omaha, Neb.-based HDR Consultants Inc., engineer for the HPOWER garbage incinerator, met June 6 with Leithead Todd. Besides discussing Hawaii County plants, Leithead Todd said, there was tentative discussion about Hawaii County sending solid waste to Oahu's HPOWER plant.

"Even if we pursue one option," Kenoi said, "it's still important to keep all our options open."

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bender wrote:
Hawaii County shouldn't worry aobut not generating enough waste to feed their incinerator. Growth will come and then they can meet the expectations of the "experts". In the mean time, the longer you talk about it, the longer it delays start up. Look at what happened on Oahu when the idea was first proposed here. And look at what happened to Oahu when they realized they needed more capacity. Dilly dallying cost us money.
on July 1,2013 | 05:31AM
allie wrote:
Growth on the Big Island will be held back by lack of doctors, bad air, lawlessness and very poor management.
on July 1,2013 | 06:22AM
Slow wrote:
You are so right. Please stay on on Oahu with your great doctors, clean air, crime free peacefulness and brilliantly efficient management.
on July 1,2013 | 06:34AM
aomohoa wrote:
I would rather hear what Wiliki, OdDiver and Nanakuliboss have to say 100 times a day than allie once. I may not agree with them but I respect there love for Hawaii.
on July 1,2013 | 09:53AM
allie wrote:
it is properly spelled "their."
on July 1,2013 | 10:31AM
BigIsandLava wrote:
You would know being a college student for the past twenty years.
on July 1,2013 | 03:46PM
aomohoa wrote:
Yes you are correct about something. I should check my posts before I push the button. I certainly know the difference. Trust me you are no smarter than I am.I was in a hurry and annoyed with your obnoxious comment. I am spending my 10th wedding anniversary in Hilo because I love it there. I'm so glad people like you don't like it or go there.
on July 1,2013 | 07:05PM
BigIsandLava wrote:
Slow if you know allie, she posts without regards to having valid information. She gets all her information from the media and really hasn't taken the time and effort to see for herself what this island is all about. Probably never even been to the island except for watching Merry Monarch on TV for a full 20 minutes.
on July 1,2013 | 03:45PM
allie wrote:
I think Hawaii island is beautiful. I just want it to be better. We all do. Or should
on July 1,2013 | 04:12PM
aomohoa wrote:
on July 1,2013 | 07:07PM
aomohoa wrote:
Do you ever have anything nice to say? That is such a rhetorical question. LOL Don't bother to answer allie. It will more than likely be a lie, about how you only speak the truth.
on July 1,2013 | 09:51AM
loquaciousone wrote:
Mayor Jeremy Harris said last year that the Waimanalo Gulch landfill would close in 2008.
on July 1,2013 | 07:21AM
Maili2 wrote:
Things always take longer than expected. It's wise to make plans in case it's not completed in the proposed time.
on July 1,2013 | 08:03AM
Anonymous wrote:
You would knowhaving been a college student for over twenty years. And yes, I know its the Big Island so don't bother correcting me. I like it.
on July 1,2013 | 03:48PM
allie wrote:
Total time to graduate: 4.5 years. But yes, I hope to be a lifelong learner.
on July 1,2013 | 04:13PM
iwanaknow wrote:
Mayor Kenoi is wishful thinking.......................the wheels turn very slowly in Hawaii (yet they do turn).
on July 1,2013 | 04:15PM
sailfish1 wrote:
Why can't we expand on Hpower on Oahu instead of continuing to burn oil? It should be cheaper and will help in our waste disposal.
on July 1,2013 | 10:55PM
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