Honolulu landfill ‘disaster’

Further detail is available now concerning ‘failure’ of the controversial city landfill at Waimanalo Gulch.

The landfill was hit by record-setting rains in January which almost led to catastrophic failure. To prevent that, Waste Management — the company that operates the facility — opted to release a rush of contaminated stormwater into the ocean. Medical waste, plastic and other debris went with it and later washed up on beaches.


The location, geography and geology of the landfill site may have been sub-optimal, and its construction flawed. Importantly, the adjacent creek and proximity to the ocean and its beaches make the site particularly sensitive and it would be of interest to look back at the planning application and consent that permitted its construction. It may be the easy optrion to blame unforeseen weather conditions, but in all probability the ‘error’ happened years before.

And in a twist to the tale of failure at Waimanalo Gulch, the operator of the private landfill in Nanakuli for construction waste is suing a union lobbyist for defamation for statements he made allegedly connecting it with last month’s release of medical waste from the nearby city landfill.

Heavy rains and flooding at the city’s Waimanalo Gulch landfill caused medical waste and other debris to wash into the ocean off Oahu’s Leeward Coast last month. PVT Land Co. operates the construction landfill in Nanakuli.

In public hearings in front of two state legislative committees on Feb. 1 and Feb. 3, PVT says Ronald Y. Amemiya, who represents the Ironworkers Union Local 625 Stabilization Fund, submitted written and oral testimony of a “severe breach” at the PVT landfill which “also caused these hazardous waste materials to flow into the neighborhood.”

In a lawsuit filed in state court yesterday, PVT says it has asked Amemiya to retract the above statements but he has yet to do so.

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