Landfill questions put study on hold

LIHU’E – Kaua’i County has temporarily suspended its contract with the consultant hired to evaluate potential sites for a new county landfill.

The criteria for a best-to-worst list of the seven sites under consideration is being reevaluated by the county, said Troy Tanigawa, Department of Public Works solid waste coordinator.

Earth Tech Inc. was issued the contract, valued at just under $50,000, in July of last year.

“We put the contract in suspension for the county to review the criteria and some other things that are going to be part of this final ranking,” said Tanigawa. “We haven’t given the contractor approval to proceed again. We’re still reviewing.” The Kaua’i Solid Waste Task Force is helping get information on the potential public acceptance of each of the sites.

Public approval falls under social and cultural criteria being evaluated for each site, including visibility from residences, scenic views, and archaeological and historical significance. The consultant will evaluate and rank the factors to eventually come up with the best site for a new landfill.

“The task force hasn’t come back with some information yet, so we’re not going to be able to conclude the ranking until we get that,” Tanigawa said.

Other site evaluation criteria include: Environmental concerns (proximity to water sources above and under ground, endangered species and sensitive ecological areas).

* Technical concerns (drainage, land-use, availability of soil for daily ground cover, rainfall, topography, site area and capacity).

* And economic concerns (site development and operational costs, site accessibility, waste transport distance and availability of land and utilities).

Each of the sites will be given a score of one to five for each of the criteria, with the criteria scores being added for a total score for each site. The one with the highest score will be considered the most suitable landfill site.

County estimates give the existing Kekaha Landfill a life expectancy of five more years, which is the time expected for construction of a new landfill.

Whatever site is finally selected – the consultant’s recommendation is due in October – an environmental impact statement is required before any new landfill can be developed.

The consultant’s fall report is expected to include a detailed description of the entire process, Tanigawa said. Sites from Kekaha to Kealia are being considered.

Staff writer Paul C. Curtis can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 224) or pcurtis@pulitzer.net

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