POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Dec 30, 2010
LAST UPDATED: 9:53 p.m. HST, Dec 30, 2010
» An earlier version of this story mistakenly said 137 pounds of garbage was sent to Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill when it should have said 137 tons.
Question: What ever happened to the piles of plastic-wrapped garbage at Campbell Industrial Park that were supposed to be shipped to Washington state?
Answer: The 20,000 tons of garbage that were supposed to be sent to a Washington landfill are gradually being burned at HPOWER, the city's garbage-to-energy plant. So far, about half the rubbish has been incinerated, and the job should be complete in February.
So as not to overwhelm HPOWER, the trash is being delivered over 20 weeks.
The original plan to ship the rubbish to Washington was scrapped in August after the contractor, Hawaiian Waste Systems, failed to get federal permits. A federal judge in July had issued a temporary restraining order also blocking the plan after the Yakama Nation and others sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture to stop the project, saying its environmental impact had not been adequately studied.
Because of numerous delays, plastic-wrapped bales of rubbish had piled up at Campbell Industrial Park for several months.
Hawaiian Waste Systems began trucking the rubbish to HPOWER on Sept. 29. As of Tuesday, more than 9,900 tons had been delivered and 137 tons of unburnable waste had gone to the Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill, according to Markus Owens, spokesman for the city Department of Environmental Services. Roughly 10,800 tons remain to be handled.
"It looks like most of it is burnable," Owens said. "Originally, all of that stuff would go to the Waimanalo Gulch. Since Hawaiian Waste Systems has been shredding and baling it, the shredding has allowed us to take that to HPOWER."
After all 20,000 tons of stored waste are handled, Hawaiian Waste Systems will help relieve the burden on the landfill by continuing to shred large pieces of garbage, such as mattresses and furniture, for the city so that it can be burned at HPOWER. The city doesn't have its own shredder and will pay $39 a ton for that service.
A third boiler due to be installed at HPOWER in early 2012 will include a shredder, allowing the city to shred its own garbage at the plant. The boiler will boost HPOWER's capacity by 50 percent, from 600,000 tons of waste annually to 900,000 tons.
As part of its agreement to cancel the shipping contract, the city waived an estimated $1 million in refuse tipping fees it would normally charge to burn the rubbish.
This update was written by Susan Essoyan. Suggest a topic for "Whatever Happened To ..." by writing Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 7-210, Honolulu 96813; call 529-4747; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.