KEALAKEHE, Hawaii – The waning life of the Hilo landfill was the topic of discussion during the Hawaii County Council Committee on Environmental Management meeting in Kona on Tuesday.
The discussion came as Kohala councilwoman Margaret Wille introduced a resolution urging the director of the Department of Environmental Management to initiate a request for proposals for a comprehensive island-wide solid waste program in anticipation of the closure of the South Hilo Sanitary Landfill.
The program would provide a sustainable solid waste disposal program compatible with the County’ s Zero Waste Policy and the Department’ s enhanced mulch and compost program, not burn solid waste, aim to recycle and reuse more than 80% of solid waste, and result in a reduction of the total current tipping fees.
The director, Bobby Jean Leithead-Todd, was present for the discussion via teleconference from Hilo. She said the county anticipates it has about 36 months left on the north face of the landfill, which is the final side where the county steepened the slope in order to extend the life of the landfill.
Leithead-Todd said both Hawaii DOT and the FAA confirmed that they will not sign off on any new landfill within six miles of the Hilo International Airport. That rules out the prior consideration of expanding the landfill to the abandoned quarries nearby.
“At the current time,” Leithead-Todd said, “what is not compostable and what is not recyclable will be trucked over to the other side of the island when the Hilo landfill closes.”
After some discussion, Wille withdrew her resolution.