Big Island proposes Keaau site for composting facility

HILO — The new proposed site for a Big Island composting facility is away from housing and will cause less of a disruption on the community, officials said.

The $10.3 million facility has been proposed for a site at the upper end of the W.H. Shipman Business Park in Keaau, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Monday.

A previous suggestion was next to the Hilo landfill, but that generated objections from Panaewa residents because of the site’s proximity to homes and agricultural lands.

The project aims to reduce the amount of organic waste dumped into landfills. The facility is expected to initially compost 28,000 tons per year and later increase to 35,000 tons, Hawaii County officials said.

During a meeting last week on the project’s draft environmental assessment, residents voiced concerns about the number of trucks leaving Highway 130 to enter the business park and if mulch will continue to be available and free.

The contractor will be required to provide the minimum amount of free mulch, said Bill Kucharski, the county’s environmental management director. Compost from food waste, compostable paper and yard waste will be sold at rates set by the contractor, Hawaiian Earth Recycling.

Vehicles make an average 326 trips per day to the existing mulching site at the Hilo landfill, according to the environmental assessment.

The island plans to have the facility completed by July 2020. As required by county code, the island cannot negotiate to lease or purchase the site until the environmental assessment is completed, Kucharski said.


Information from: Hawaii Tribune-Herald,


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