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(Mon., Aug. 23, 2010)—Acting Mayor Kirk Caldwell today announced that the City has reached an agreement with Hawaiian Waste Systems that will require the company to dispose of 20,000 tons of municipal solid waste it had accumulated but was unable to ship to a mainland landfill as planned.


            “We’ve agreed on a reasonable solution that will resolve this issue and remove the opala,” Caldwell said. “The City bent over backwards to try to make this shipping effort work, but it is clear that shipping is not a viable option at this time. The opala must be removed to protect public health and safety.”


            Under the agreement Hawaiian Waste Systems will transport most of the waste to the City’s HPOWER plant, where it will be combusted to produce electricity. Waste that is not suitable for combustion will be transported to the Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill.


The waste consists mostly of bulky items and similar material that would normally be disposed of at the landfill. However, because Hawaiian Waste Systems has processed the waste—crushing and shredding it to make it amenable to baling for shipment—most of the material can now be accepted at HPOWER.


            The disposal process will begin once a formal settlement agreement has been completed and signed within the next 15 days. So as not to overwhelm HPOWER or the landfill, the waste will be steadily added to the flow of material to those facilities over approximately 20 weeks.


The City had planned to have a portion of the waste collected on Oahu shipped to the mainland, to help reduce the amount of waste going to Waimanalo Gulch.  This was an interim measure while the HPOWER plant is expanded. A third boiler under construction at the plant is expected to be completed in late 2011.  The third boiler will allow HPOWER to convert another 300,000 tons of waste per year into electricity.


The City had initially rejected Hawaiian Waste Systems’ bid to ship waste to Washington State, after raising numerous concerns about the company’s ability to perform. Hawaiian Waste Systems appealed, and after a settlement the company was awarded the contract to ship 100,000 tons of waste per year for three years. The company was unable to obtain all required federal permits to begin shipping, however.




Media contact: Bill Brennan, Mayor’s Office, 768-6928