(BIVN) – The South Hilo Sanitary Landfill will close sometime in 2019, officials say. On Thursday, the Hawai‘i Department of Health issued a public notice on the draft renewal and modification permit for the landfill, which will approve an “alternative cover design” for the project.
“The Hilo landfill has been operating for the last 30 or 40 years,” Hawaiʻi County Environmental Management Director Bill Kucharski told Sherry Bracken during a recent Island Issues radio program. “That is closing,” Kucharski said. “We have contracts out for the closure.”
“There are two aspects to closing a landfill,” Kucharski said. “One is when you stop taking additional solid wastes. The other is, after that is done, you need to close it according to Department of Health rules and regulations. That includes putting an impermeable liner over the entire landfill.”
“The landfill is about 40 acres,” Kucharski said, “and to give people perspective, that is like 40 football fields worth of land area that is going to have a synthetic cover put on, like astroturf. It’s going to look green but it’s not going to be growing.”
“If you throw a stick in the air” in Hilo, Kucharski said, “it will sprout before it hits the ground. In a landfill, growing things – like trees – roots go down and penetrate the impermeable liners which is one of the main reasons we’re doing an artificial liner.”
The Hilo landfill closure will be the first closure in the State of Hawaiʻi that will be done with an artificial cover, the director said.
“We have $20 million dollars to close the landfill,” Kucharski told Bracken. “There is a 30-year requirement to continue to monitor the landfill, and to ensure that in that next 30 years that it is properly closed. That is an ongoing budget item for the county in anticipation of that requirement.”
Kucharski says the landfill is still taking garbage, but when that stops all the trash will go to Puʻuanahulu in West Hawaiʻi, where Kucharski says there is adequate capacity. “Estimates vary but it’s between fifty and a hundred and fifty years at our current disposal rate,” Kucharski said.
The Hawaiʻi Department of Health on Thursday issued a public notice for the draft solid waste management permit for the landfill. The health department stated:
The Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH) Solid and Hazardous Waste Branch has issued a public notice on the draft renewal and modification permit for the South Hilo Sanitary Landfill. Written comments will be accepted until March 19. A copy of the permit application and draft permit are available here, and at the DOH’s Hilo office at 1582 Kamehameha Ave.
The South Hilo landfill plans to close sometime in 2019 and this permit approves an “alternative cover design.” The previously prescribed cover system requires 18 inches of low permeable soil with 6 inches of top soil on the surface. The “alternative cover design” incorporates a synthetic geomembrane and a turf layer, which will be more resistant to erosion.
To view the full public notice go to this site.