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Trash inspection: Are long lines, hiring process also to blame?

Could there be more reasons for trash pickup delays across Oahu, like trucks being out of service, or a long hiring process?

We've been told that part of the problem is long lines at the transfer stations, but we didn't see any of that Thursday.

We went down to the Keehi Transfer Station near the airport, where city refuse trucks are first weighed, and then trash is unloaded in a pit.

From there, the trash is loaded into bigger trucks and brought to the H-Power plant at Campbell Industrial Park. We were down there throughout the day and there were no lines of trucks waiting to empty their load.

As for the hiring process, workers say is also a slow process. Honolulu City Councilman Trevor Ozawa says he is working with the city Department of Human Services to streamline it.

"They first open it up to those employees that work in that department for three months, then the next three months, they open it up to all city employees, and the next three months, they open it up to the general public. That's a process of nine months. I'm asking them to streamline it, do it all in one three-month period," said Ozawa.

However, the city says Ozawa's timeline isn't accurate. Vera Onouye, Department of Human Resources administrator, said in a statement:

Civil service rules require internal departmental postings to be for a minimum of ten calendar days (not 30 days). In the case of the Refuse C

ollection Equipment Operators, ENV posted their recruitment from 10/26/15-11/4/15, as Director Kahikina recalled.

Because of ENV's need to quickly fill these jobs, DHR expedited a concurrent, one-day, external posting (open to the public) on 10/28/15 so ENV would have a ready list of additional candidates to consider for their vacancies.

Workers point out that pickup delays are also a result of too many trucks being out of service for too long. We went down to the Automotive Equipment Service yard in Halawa, where city vehicles are repaired and saw dozens of refuse trucks.

A spokesman for the Department of Environmental Services says 41 trucks are currently out of service, out of 163 used to pick up trash. That includes trucks that haul trash from transfer stations and take them to the H-Power plant.

But a spokesman says that even with that many trucks under repair, there are enough to service the island, so that's not a reason for the delays.

The city is in the process of hiring 13 more drivers. A spokesman says there were 125 applicants and interviews will be conducted this month and next month.


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