Lawmakers pass bill blocking Oahu landfill expansion

HONOLULU — Hawaii state lawmakers have passed a bill that would block the planned expansion of the landfill used for large commercial projects including the demolition of Aloha Stadium and Honolulu’s rail system.

PVT Land Co. countered that the measure could force the company to raise disposal fees and stop accepting some material, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Wednesday.

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The site in the community of Nanakuli is the only landfill on Oahu allowed to accept material from commercial construction and demolition projects.

The bill would require at least a half-mile buffer zone around residences, schools and hospitals for the construction, modification or expansion of a waste or disposal facility.

The bill would also prohibit the location of a disposal facility in a conservation district, except under emergency circumstances.

Democratic Gov. David Ige has until Sept. 15 to veto bills, but must notify lawmakers of his intentions by Aug. 31.

The Nanakuli landfill dates to the early 1980s and has an estimated five years of remaining capacity.

PVT also contends a prohibition on expansion could cause cleanup difficulties if Oahu is hit by a major hurricane. The facility is designated to receive most debris from catastrophic hurricane damage.

“With this bill, there would be no place for the disaster debris to go for recycling and disposal,” the company said.

Other consequences could include increased illegal dumping and reduced construction material recycling, the company said.

Honolulu’s Department of Environmental Services said the bill would prevent expansion of the city’s landfill, waste-to-energy plant, three refuse transfer stations and six refuse and recycling drop-off centers.

Kauai County testified the bill would require closing two of four refuse transfer stations in 2022. Maui County anticipates spending millions of dollars to acquire land to expand landfill facilities.

The bill’s supporters include area residents, civic clubs, the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the Sierra Club of Hawaii and nine organized labor organizations.

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Some supporters who testified at the Legislature alleged the landfill was the source of health problems for nearby residents.

Nine human health risk studies submitted to the state health department over 15 years indicate dust from landfill operations does not pose a health concern, PVT said.

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