- Associated Press - Monday, December 21, 2015

LIHUE, Hawaii (AP) - Kauai County officials are drafting an environmental impact statement for a new landfill to replace the one in Kekaha that is expected to reach capacity in about 10 more years.

Deputy director of public works, Lyle Tabata, said the county is considering an undeveloped land plot in Maalo for the new landfill, which sits between Lihue and Hanamaulu.

The 270-acre site would be built in stages, with the first 70 acres expected to handle the island’s waste for more than a century. Tabata said the full site would reach capacity after about 300 years, The Garden Island reported (https://bit.ly/1YvnmJ7).

The county is looking into a range of funding options for the project, including grants, low-interest loans and bond floats.

The existing landfill that holds the island’s 81,000 tons of annual waste is expected to cost about $15 million to shutter, plus additional expenses for post-closure monitoring and maintenance.

The Kekaha landfill’s expected closure in 10 years is dependent upon the island successfully implementing recycling programs aimed at achieving a 70 percent waste diversion rate by 2020. Kauai’s current diversion rate is at about 45 percent, up from 22 percent in 2002.

Tabata said the county will also face challenges in finding a landowner willing to host the proposed site and getting support from residents in nearby communities.

Part of the traffic study included in the environmental impact statement focuses on the possibility of constructing a new road for trucks to travel on for access to the landfill, so that residents will not be burdened by the additional traffic.

“It’s NIMBY,” Tabata explained, using a popular acronym for “not in my backyard.” ”The community is going to say they don’t care, do it at any cost. But in the end it’s going to impact them because the fees will have to be higher.

The state Department of Health will have to approve the project before any work can begin.

“If we are allowed to build it there, this will be the last landfill on this island,” Tabata said. “Because I imagine in the next 25 years there will be some new technology developed to deal with this better than we have been.


Information from: The Garden Island, https://thegardenisland.com/

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