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Ma‘alo at top of list for county’s new landfill site

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Posted: Tuesday, July 31, 2012 1:00 am

LIHU‘E — County officials announced late Monday afternoon the release of the new siting study report which places Ma‘alo at the top of a list including eight potential sites for the island’s next landfill. The data collected by private consultant AECOM is intended to enable the county to choose the location of Kaua‘i’s new landfill.

“The Ma‘alo site is the longest-term solution for the county’s waste disposal problem,” states the report prepared by AECOM, adding that the site has an estimated life span of 264 years, which could be extended further with the operation of a Resource Recovery Park.

“As the last 12 years of trying to site a landfill show, the value of this near-permanent potential solution cannot be overstressed,” the report states.

The other sites studied in the report are Kalepa, immediately below Ma‘alo and near Hanama‘ulu; Kekaha Mauka, near the existing landfill; Kipu, near Puhi; Umi, in Kalaheo; Kumukumu, between Kapa‘a and Anahola; Pu‘u o Papai, near Hanapepe; and a piece of land in Koloa. AECOM’s report also states the Ma‘alo site is the only site identified that has a “willing” landowner. AECOM anticipates the county would not need to purchase Kekaha Mauka or Ma‘alo because the sites are state- or federally-owned. However, the state, which owns Kekaha Mauka, is unwilling to negotiate, and the county cannot condemn state-owned property, according to AECOM.

Additionally, Ma‘alo is the most economical site over the life of the landfill, it ranks first in the Community Criteria Evaluation system, has a low nuisance factor due to its topography and it is centrally located, according to the report.

Despite having the lowest estimated total cost per year of site life, at $6.49 million, Ma‘alo has the highest estimated initial cost of all sites, at $38.1 million.

The other downside of Ma‘alo, according to AECOM, is that the site has possible wetland features that may require mitigation.

All sites studied have agricultural value, and half of them — Kalepa, Kekaha Mauka, Pu‘u o Papai and Umi — have active agricultural land use. Almost two years ago, on Sept. 10, 2010, Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. called a press conference to announce he would no longer pursue Kalaheo as the host community for a new landfill site. Instead, he proposed Ma‘alo, about 2.5 miles north of Lihu‘e, and said his administration would proceed with an environment impact statement led by AECOM.

On Oct. 11, 2010, Carvalho conducted in Hanama‘ulu what would be the first in a series of public meetings related to the siting of Ma‘alo. A large crowd from the Hanama‘ulu community showed up at the meeting at King Kaumuali‘i School in Hanama‘ulu, and the few speakers who testified showed strong opposition to the siting of the landfill near Hanama‘ulu.

More than a year after Carvalho’s announcement of Ma‘alo as the new landfill site, county officials told Kaua‘i County Council members on Oct. 28 that AECOM — under a $1.85 million contract — had been given a the go-ahead to proceed with an EIS, which would include a feasibility study for the landfill siting and an 80-acre Resource Recovery Park.

Visit www.kauaii.gov/newlandfillsite to download the complete report or call the Solid Waste Division at 241-4837 for more information about the landfill siting.

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • Tikimom posted at 5:33 am on Wed, Aug 1, 2012.

    Tikimom Posts: 1

    A new landfill is not the answer. Zero waste is the key. Education, resident participation and progressive ideas. Let's learn from the states on the mainland who are finding ways to reduce and close landfills. It is not only better for the environment and drinking water but can actually save the state money. Reduce/Reuse/Recycle/Compost has to be a way of life with our finite resources. Think about it. How many landfills can an island have before irreversible damage is done? There are wonderful experts on this issue and money would be well spent hiring these consultants and implementing their programs rather than paying consultants to tell us where the next landfill should be. See http://garyliss.com/ Mr. Liss is a leader in the Zero Waste movement and has saved millions of dollars to cities/states under his waste management plans. Come on Kauai, be a leader. Remember, if you're not for zero waste how much waste are you for?

  • kauai4life posted at 8:17 pm on Tue, Jul 31, 2012.

    kauai4life Posts: 35

    The link is broken -- because kauai is spelled wrong. This is a HUGE story -- as anyone who's followed the two decades of landfill siting can attest -- and yet there's not a SINGLE quote taken from anyone, other than what's in the press release. Shame on you for running this story this way.

    Did the reporter read the report, or just re-write the press release? Did he try to find out who the landowner was? Exactly where the site is? Did he find out why the state wouldn't negotiate with the county about Kekaha? Did he quote the dozens of Kekaha residents who must be ecstatic with this information? How about taking a ride to Hanamaulu, where residents have been fighting a landfill in their backyard for a decade?

    I really hope he follows up with some answers. Or not. No worries. I'll just wait for Joan Conrow and Andy Parx.

  • Manaranger posted at 9:08 am on Tue, Jul 31, 2012.

    Manaranger Posts: 25

    Ma'alo definitely makes the most sense of all the candidate sites for many reasons:

    First, it is located between the two largest population centers on the island (Lihu'e and Kapa'a where most of the opala comes from). This reduces considerably the wear and tear on Kaumuali'i Highway.

    Second, there are no population centers located downwind of the site which is a blessing when compared to the other candidate sites.

    Third, as the siting study suggests, the Resource Recovery Park would provide "maximum diversion of waste from the landfill" giving the Ma'alo site a longevity of almost 3 centuries! This could very well be extended further if a waste-to-power conversion plant is included.

    As an addendum to the study, what about extending the life of the existing Kekaha site and continue to use it for the trash from Koloa, Omau, and points west? This would take all of the transfer trucks off of the highway between the airport and Poipu.

    Ray Miller

  • JustinCase posted at 2:22 am on Tue, Jul 31, 2012.

    JustinCase Posts: 318

    Kauai should consider a trash to energy option. We cannot continue to bury our trash. We need to think long term. We should use the old Lihue Sugar Mill area as the site for this trash-to-energy facility. We should get federal help for this.


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