- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 5, 2014

HILO, Hawaii (AP) - Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi told a County Council panel he plans to pursue a waste-elimination project to address capacity problems at Hilo’s landfill.

Kenoi outlined plans Tuesday that could include a waste-to-energy incinerator, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald (http://is.gd/OituKr) reported Wednesday. The idea for the incinerator was rejected in 2008 by the council under a previous administration.

Kenoi said he doesn’t intend to pursue any particular technology, an approach that appeared to receive support from the council members, who were meeting as the Committee on Environmental Management.

“We want to cast a wide net and look at all options for waste-reduction technology,” Kenoi said.

He said a waste-to-energy facility would need to consume as much as 300 tons of garbage per day. That’s more than the Hilo landfill receives, so six transfer stations that send trash to another landfill would be rededicated to a new facility built, likely at the Hilo landfill.

Waste consumption is the best option for the county, given opposition to trucking garbage to another landfill and the high cost of expanding the Hilo landfill, according to the mayor, who pegged the cost of a new landfill at $222 million.

The Hilo landfill is expected to be full in four years.

A $125 million waste-to-energy facility that was proposed by former Mayor Harry Kim was rejected by the council over cost concerns.

Most of the nine council members praised Kenoi’s approach, which includes issuing a request for qualifications in early March and signing a contract in April 2015.

“This should have been done in the past too,” said Council Chairman J Yoshimoto, who served on the council in 2008.

County environmental management director Bobby Jean Leithead Todd told the Tribune-Herald that operational costs could be covered through the sale of fuel, energy or other material byproducts. She said such revenues might help cover capital costs, although it’s unclear how far that money would go.

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Information from: Hawaii Tribune-Herald, http://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/