Landfill site criteria set for possible locations

The Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Landfill Site Selection yesterday worked to finalize the criteria that will be used to rank the eight possible locations for a new landfill on Kaua‘i.

The 15-member appointed group, under the guidance of two consultants, determined 26 conditions ranging from population density near the site to the cost of acquisition.

The county’s sole landfill, located in Kekaha, is expected to reach capacity in December or January.

Lateral expansion projects should break ground next month and add a few years of life to the landfill, but another landfill is necessary to accommodate the island’s growing waste stream, County Engineer Donald Fujimoto said.

“We’re very excited to start this process,” he said. “It’s a monumental task.”

The eight landfill sites under consideration are Kekaha Mauka, Pu‘u o Papai, Umi, Koloa, Kipu, Ma‘alo, Kumukumu and Kalepa, according to county documents.

The sites are all on state or private land, according to Troy Tanigawa, a county environmental services management engineer working with the committee. He said the majority of the sites are privately owned and sit on flat land.

A committee member said none of the eight sites would require displacing a resident or business, but could result in moving a pasture.

Other factors that will be considered when the double blind landfill site evaluation occurs will be consistency with the county’s General Plan and land use designations, proximity to surface water, flora and fauna habitat, wind direction relative to populated areas and archaeological significance.

Fujimoto said the key is removing the subjectivity and making a decision based on measurable objectives.

The two-hour meeting at the Pi‘ikoi Building marked the fourth of six planned sessions for the committee, which is composed of three members from the five districts on Kaua‘i. The meetings are facilitated by RM Towill and Resolutions Hawaii and staffed by the county Division of Solid Waste Management.

The project to site the new landfill, which started May 6, is expected to last seven months. The next two meetings will focus on a presentation of the results and a report to the mayor.

The Kaua‘i County Council will ultimately approve the site of the next landfill after receiving the final report from the committee, which will provide a ranking of the sites considered and a recommendation.

The county is launching an active community outreach initiative to inform the public of landfill-related issues starting with a presentation at 7 p.m. today at the Kekaha Neighborhood Community Center.

The items to be discussed at the islandwide sessions include landfill site selection, the lateral expansion project and host community benefit funds, Fujimoto said.

Based on the limited capacity remaining in the current landfill property at Kekaha, it is anticipated that a new municipal landfill will be needed by January 2017, according to the county’s Web site. Because of the time required (minimum 5 years) to complete complex tasks relating to the planning, construction and permitting of modern landfills and potential for unanticipated delays, it is necessary that the siting process take place and be completed within the next six to eight months.

For more information, visit www.kauai.gov/newlandfillsite.

• Nathan Eagle, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 224) or neagle@kauaipubco.com

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