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MAYOR COMMITS TO IMPARTIAL LANDFILL COMMITTEE

(Mon., Jan. 31, 2011) – In a briefing before a joint City Council committee, City officials reported today that the search is underway for possible landfill sites to supplement or replace Oahu’s only municipal solid waste (MSW) landfill, the Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill (WGSL).

            A Land Use Commission (LUC) order in 2009 required the City to begin the process of identifying one or more landfill sites to supplement or replace the WGSL.  The City’s own Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan calls for the City to identify a new MSW landfill site by 2012 with the assistance of a panel of community members to advise the City.

            “The 12 members of this landfill site selection committee were chosen based on multiple criteria including technical expertise and experience, community involvement and availability to serve.  All committee meetings will be open to the public and to public comment,” said Mayor Peter Carlisle.  “I am committed to a process that is open and transparent.  I expect and have every confidence that all committee members will conduct themselves with integrity and impartially as they deliberate on this important issue.”

            The members of the Landfill Advisory Committee are: Bruce Anderson, Ph.D., David Arakawa, Thomas Arizumi, David Cooper, John DeSoto, John Goody, Joe Lapilio, Tesha H. Malama, Janice Marsters, Richard Poirier, Chuck Prentiss, and George West.  

            The voluntary members of the committee will provide advisory recommendations to the City concerning the selection of a future site for a landfill to accept MSW, ash and residue from the City’s H-POWER waste-to-energy facility, and construction and demolition debris waste for the island of Oahu.  The committee met for the first time this month and is expected to take approximately six months before making final recommendations.

            Tim Steinberger, director of the city’s Department of Environmental Services, reported to the Council committee today that the advisory committee will necessarily have to consider WGSL in comparison to other locations in order to make its recommendations.

            The 2009 LUC order acknowledged it will take the City at least seven years to construct and open a new landfill, but required WGSL to no longer accept MSW as of July 2012.   

            “Given these facts, the City will request an extension of the LUC deadline for acceptance of MSW at the landfill,” says Steinberger.  “The recent storms that closed WGSL underscore that Oahu still needs a landfill to accept MSW that cannot presently be reused, recycled or burned at H-POWER, such as certain bulky items, sewage sludge, medical waste and H-POWER residue.”

            Completion of a third boiler at H-POWER is scheduled for mid-2012, which will substantially reduce the amount of waste disposal at WGSL.

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