County making moves on the solid-waste front

PUHI – Bids are to go out next week to find and hire the operator of the county’s Puhi metals recycling facility, which will accept junk cars, white goods like large home appliances, and other scrap metal.

Also next week, on Wednesday, July 5, the county’s Solid Waste Task Force will reconvene, said Jean Camp, Mayor Maryanne Kusaka’s executive assistant on solid waste.

The meeting, which will include discussion on site selection for a new county landfill, recycling, and a look at all the county solid-waste plans and current activities, is at 9:30 a.m. at the Lihu’e Civic Center.

Where the new landfill plans are concerned, Camp said the task force’s job is to come up with ideas on how to get public acceptance of whatever site is finally selected, and get the public involved in discussion regarding the site.

Camp, who met Kusaka at a housewarming party on the island, was hired specifically to facilitate the awarding of a long-term contract for some company to dispose of the county’s trash as collected curbside.

The island generates 240 tons of trash a day, most eventually making its way to the Kekaha Landfill, said Camp, who has worked for the city government of San Francisco and with Chevron Corp. and holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Mass.

She was as disappointed as some of the five original finalists that the county pulled back the initial solid-waste contract proposal.

“Of course you’re disappointed,” said Camp, who had told the five finalists the county intended to make an award after the five were evaluated.

But, she said, the county made a mistake, and the county attorney’s office felt that if a court challenge was forthcoming as a result of deficient bid procedures, there would be a chance the county could lose.

“We had determined that there were certain deficiencies in the bid process, and based on that we decided to pull it back and re-do it,” said Hartwell Blake, county attorney.

The delay, though, is allowing the county to gather information, a case study on long-term, solid-waste-disposal alternatives, which Camp intends to present to the County Council, along with cost estimates, timetable and justification for the plant, she said.

She has a preliminary draft of that document, which she plans to send to the council by late July. If the council agrees to fund the plant, the council could act sometime this fall, she added.

Camp anticipates needing a 20-year contract, as that is the likely life of the plant. Also, it could take the successful bidder 10 to 20 years to pay for the anticipated multi-million-dollar facility, she said.

The life expectancy of the Kekaha Landfill is five years. It will take five years to build a new landfill, and three to five years to build a new waste-handling plant, she said.

The exact wastes the plant will consume depend on which company is awarded the county contract.

No matter which technology is chosen for the county’s long-term waste contract, the island will still need a new landfill, Camp told The Garden Island.

Due by sometime next year is a hurricane debris plan for the island, another task that may fall to Camp.

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