HONOLULU (KHON2) — Mayor Rick Blangiardi is looking to push the deadline for a new city landfill site to December 2024.
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The mayor and the Department of Environmental Services announced Friday afternoon, Dec. 23, that the city’s search has been stonewalled by a lack of space available to create the new landfill.
Currently, Oahu has a sole landfill for solid waste and ash from H-Power, Waimanalo Gulch, which is located just mauka of Ko Olina on Oahu’s west side.
The City and County of Honolulu alleges that a 2020 Hawaii State Legislature bill, Act 73, that requires residences, schools and hospitals to be at least a half mile away from a landfill forced the city to exclude 10 of 11 proposed sites.
The city wants the law repealed.
“That’s gonna require legislative action. We will continue discussions with the U.S. military on potential sites, and we’d evaluate the feasibility on acquiring residential properties adjacent to potential landfill sites in order to create sites that would comply with Act 73 buffer,” DES Director Roger Babcock said.
In another document, Babcock said that if the law is not repealed, they would evaluate going so far as to use eminent domain on residential areas and take over homes close to potential landfill sites.
The 11 locations in the map of proposed areas below range from Kahuku to Nanakuli and Kaneohe to Hawaii Kai.
“As long as safety is the priority, and it’s also making sure it’s equitable in its location. I don’t see there being an issue,” said Rep. Darius Kila (D) Maili, Nanakuli.
The city also researched six sites in Central Oahu but was shot down by the Board of Water Supply because of proximity to aquifers in what the BWS calls No Pass Zones.
Mayor Blangiardi said that he will not delay the 2028 date scheduled to retire Waimanalo Gulch.
“We feel we really owe that to the residents of the Leeward Community. There’s a lot of emotion on this subject that we know that,” he said.
Many, including Rep. Kila and members of the West Oahu community, feel like the area has been the site of too many landfills.
“We for far too long on West Oahu in our community, especially Nanakuli have bared that burden for so long. So I plead with the folks at the City and County of Honolulu to do right by our community and making sure that we can find a site outside of our community,” Rep. Kila said.
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The city’s request to delay decision-making until 2024 now goes to the Honolulu Planning Commission.