Hilo landfill to stop accepting construction waste

  • BILL KUCHARSKI
  • HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald file photo Vendors watch as a commercial load of garbage is sorted in the East Hawaii Regional Sort Station during a tour of the facility and the Hilo landfill in 2014.

Effective Aug. 1, the county will no longer accept construction and demolition debris or grading and grubbing materials at the South Hilo Sanitary Landfill, the Department of Environmental Management announced Wednesday.

Construction and demolition debris, also known as “C&D debris,” includes “special waste” such as concrete, rock, brick, wood, masonry, plaster and other similar materials. That debris must be hauled to the West Hawaii Sanitary Landfill (also known as Puuanahulu) located at 71-1111 Queen Kaahumanu Highway in Waikoloa.

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“We have no more room under our permit at Hilo. We had been anticipating the closure for a year, although some folks would say we’ve been talking about closing it for 20 years,” said Bill Kucharski, the county’s Environmental Management director. “We’re at the end of the life of the landfill.”

Closure of the landfill, located next to Hilo International Airport, has been the subject of discussion for decades.

“We have had limited use of the landfill for C&D waste, and the people that are handling that have known about this coming, sooner or later, for quite a long time,” Kucharski said. “We’re just formalizing what we’ve been doing. The folks knew that once we got to this point, the C&D was not going to be accepted here, and it was going to have to go to Puuanahulu.”

As for commercial rubbish haulers who use the Hilo landfill for residential waste, Kucharski said, “We’re not going to be stopping that. That is going to continue.”

“That plan is for … the local haulers continue to bring their waste, but instead of going to the landfill itself, they’ll be going to the sort station at the Hilo landfill,” Kucharski said. “They will deposit their material and that’ll be moved over and reallocated to county trailers, and all that will be transported to Puuanahulu daily.”

Kucharski said the projected life of the West Hawaii landfill is “somewhere between 100 and 150 years.”

“But even with that, we’re looking at ways to extend that beyond that time period, and we’re going to be looking at some innovative ways to reduce the waste train going into the landfill,” he said.

Kucharski noted the Pacific hurricane season started June 1 and runs through November.

“Generally, after a hurricane, we have downed trees, we have houses and roofs and things that have historically gone to Hilo that now will have to be transported to Puuanahulu,” he said.

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Those who need to confirm whether they have construction and demolition debris or who want more information are asked to contact the county’s Solid Waste Division at 961-8270.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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