LIHUE — In the next 10 to 12 years, Kauai is going to need somewhere to put its trash, and officials are looking at 270 acres near Hanamaulu for a new municipal solid waste landfill.
Anyone interested in the plans for the new landfill has until May 23 to comment on a recently released draft environmental impact statement.
“The study includes the site-selection process, which went through a couple of rounds of siting studies,” said Acting County Engineer Lyle Tabata.
He continued: “Now, we are wrapping up the years of work, which includes multiple rounds of community meetings to review all of the engineering studies, environmental reviews, meeting with other governmental agencies and the public.”
The goal for the new landfill is to completely replace and provide the same services as the Kekaha landfill: the disposal of island-generated municipal solid waste that can’t be reused, recycled or otherwise recovered.
“The existing Kehaka municipal solid waste landfill (MSWLF) is projected to reach capacity in the near future,” the DEIS states. “The proposed project includes construction and operation of a new MSWLF and resource recovery park.”
A 2.8-mile access road and associated infrastructure is included in the DEIS, as well as an explanation of the proposed MSWLF site, which is about four miles north of Lihue, east from Ma‘alo Road and west of Kalepa Ridge and Kuhio Highway. It is more than a mile from the Pacific Ocean, according to county officials.
The site was chosen from eight different potential places, including Kipu, Kalepa, Koloa, Kumukumi, Pu‘u Papa‘i, ‘Umi and Kekaha Mauka.
The Ma‘alo site was chosen as “the most practicable and viable alternative,” according to the DEIS. The site has an estimated life of 264 years and is the only site identified that currently has a potentially willing landowner.
Half of the parcel under consideration for the new MSWLF is owned by the state and the other half is owned by Grove Farm.
The site is also the most economical option, according to the DEIS, as it is located within the Kauai waste generation centroid, which will save costs and fuel, result in less waste-related traffic, and have positive sustainability effects.
At their closest point, the two sites are separated by 1,425 feet and both are being used for agriculture, with long history of that usage as both parcels were once sugar cane lands.
Within the DEIS are community comments and feedback about the proposed site and project, and most of the concerns revolved around access roads and driveways.
“As a whole, the response group was more concerned about the impacts of trucking solid waste to its destination than about the characteristics of the project facilities,” the DEIS states. “This was particularly pronounced among the residents of the Isenberg neighborhood.”
Joe Rosa, Hanamaulu resident born and raised on the grounds of the former Lihue Plantation, voiced concerns about the need for rezoning, how the landfill would affect the water table and Wailua Falls, and the impact of the project on Hule‘ia National Wildlife Refuge.
He also pointed out a safety issue when it comes to the proposed landfill site.
“If the main point of entry to the proposed landfill is via Ma‘alo Road at the foot of Kapaia Bridge, the road curves from both sides which could cause brake failures leading to accidents and possibly death,” he said.
It’s going to take years of planning, and has already taken more than a decade of work to get to this point, according to the DEIS.
“We are at the point of the draft EIS publication which we hope to conclude and publish the final EIS to move forward with final design and work toward construction of the new landfill,” Tabata said.
Just the first phase of the project, which includes improving access roads and their associated infrastructure, totals $58.3 million.
Comments should be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, with a copy also sent to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org before May 23.
Jessica Else, environmental reporter, can be reached at 245-0452 or email@example.com.