HILO, Hawaii – Hawaii County has been hit with over $350,000 in fines from the state for alleged violations at its two Big Island landfill sites.
The Hawaii State Department of Health announced on Thursday that it has filed two Notices and Findings of Violation and Order against the County of Hawaii for solid waste permit violations occurring at the South Hilo and West Hawaii sanitary landfills. County officials says they are contesting the state’s findings.
According to the health department:
During compliance inspections conducted on May 23 and 24, 2013, at the South Hilo Sanitary Landfill located off Leilani Road in Hilo, DOH found that the county failed to cover disposed solid waste with daily or intermediate cover for approximately 28 days. These violations occurred between Jan. 1 and May 31, 2013 and over many areas of the landfill including closed and active disposal areas.
In addition, the county failed to monitor groundwater quality for at least one sampling event, failed to monitor for explosive gas along the perimeter of the landfill for two consecutive quarters between September 2012 and June 2013, and failed to ban and remove whole tires from the active disposal area. DOH has ordered the County of Hawaii to correct the violations and pay an administrative penalty of $328,190.Hawaii State Department of Health
In an email reply to Big Island Video News, Hawaii County Emergency Management Director Bobbie Jean Leithead-Todd confirmed the county has requested a hearing to contest the allegations and order. She said the county seeks to address the allegations contained in the notices as well as steps her department has taken to address state concerns. “The landfill is currently in compliance with DOH regulations regarding daily cover,” she wrote.
State health inspectors found problems on the other side of the Big Island, as well.
During a March 5, 2014, inspection of the West Hawaii Landfill located at 71-1111 Queen Kaahumanu Hwy. in Puuanahulu, North Kona, DOH discovered unpermitted storage of approximately 800-1,000 tons of scrap metal and appliances. DOH has imposed a penalty of $21,900, and ordered the county to cease accepting and accumulating scrap metal and white goods and remove and dispose of all accumulated scrap metal and white goods. The County of Hawaii may request a hearing to contest these allegations or the order.Hawaii State Department of Health
According to Leithead-Todd, the scrap metal issue will soon be taken care of. “After the recent resolution of a procurement protest,” she wrote, “the scrap metal contract for removal of the accumulated metal was awarded and the contractor is in the process of removing the metal.”
The state says its Department of Health Solid Waste Section “regulates standards governing the design, construction, installation, operation and maintenance of solid waste disposal, recycling, reclamation and transfer systems. Such standards are intended to prevent pollution of the drinking water supply or waters of the state, prevent air pollution, prevent the spread of disease and the creation of nuisances, protect the public health and safety, conserve natural resources, and preserve and enhance the beauty and quality of the environment.”