HONOLULU (KHON2) — The City recently announced it will need an extension to find a new site for a landfill. The Mayor and the City’s Environmental Services director said land use limitations are adding challenges to the search, but West Oahu residents said it is time the City moved the landfill out of the Leeward side. 

The City is quickly approaching an end-of-the-year deadline to find a new landfill location on the island. 

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Mayor Rick Blangiardi during a Friday press conference said, “We understand the mandate to close Waimanalo gulch, and we want to take that as seriously as possible.”

The Environmental Services Director Roger Babcock said the search for a new landfill site is anything but easy. At least six sites were blocked by the Board of Water Supply for sitting above aquifers, plus state law requires a half-mile buffer zone between landfills and schools, homes and hospitals. 

The Nanakuli Maili Neighborhood Board Chair Patty Kahanamoku-Teruya said the community is wary this could head towards and endless search. 

Kahanamoku-Teruya said, “There’s no concrete long-range future plan that is set for the closure of the Waimanalo gulch, so it scares the community because without a plan then it still sits there.”

She said residents on West Oahu feel like they have done their part, by carrying the burden of having the landfill in their community for this long. 

“What about sites? And I know every council district and elected officials don’t want to see a landfill in their area,” Kahanamoku-Teruya said. “But we have taken this burden for years to take care of all the opala around the state of Hawaii, and so they have to look at sites.”

Blangiardi said the extension request to the State’s Land Use Commission is not meant to delay a 2028 closure of the landfill. He said talks about acquiring federal land or even working to amend state law on land use requirements remain on the table. 

Kahanamoku-Teruya said, “They need to get out of the box and look for a better site but not on West Oahu.”

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In a letter to the Planning Commission, Babcock said if the extension is denied, they will be left with no choice but to identify and pursue the development of one of the six areas the BWS opposed.