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Waste Management fined for West Hawaii Landfill violations, to implement fire controls at closed Kona landfill

Release Date: 10/01/2008
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, 808-541-2711, higuchi.dean@epa.gov

Settles air violations at West Hawaii Landfill, will spend over $180,000 for environmental project

(10/01/08) HONOLULU – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a settlement with Waste Management of Hawaii, Inc. and the County of Hawaii for $33,500 in fines and at least $184,400 for a beneficial environmental project after violating the Clean Air Act at the West Hawaii Landfill at Waikaloa.

The supplemental environmental project will address the ongoing smoldering conditions at the closed Kona Landfill by conducting heat mapping of the site for a future landfill-wide fire suppression program. The project will also test the effectiveness of proven landfill fire suppression techniques using fire-retardant foam that could be used at the Kona site. Finally, air monitoring will be done around the Kona landfill to assess any potential impacts from the smoldering landfill.

"We're pleased that, in resolving the West Hawaii Landfill violations, the combustion issues at the closed Kona Landfill will also be addressed," said Deborah Jordan, director for the EPA Pacific Southwest region’s Air Division. "This settlement will help to protect community residents from this potential health hazard."

Since 2001, Waste Management and the County of Hawaii have violated air testing and monitoring reporting requirements for hazardous air pollutants and volatile organics at the West Hawaii Landfill.

The West Hawaii Landfill at Waikaloa on the Big Island is owned by the County of Hawaii and run and operated for the county by Waste Management of Hawaii, Inc. Staff from the Hawaii Department of Health’s Clean Air Branch and Solid and Hazardous Waste Branch provided assistance to the EPA’s investigators. In addition, staff from the California Integrated Waste Management Board assisted in the development of the environmental project.

Nonmethane landfill gas contains volatile organic compounds and hazardous air pollutants that can result in adverse effects to the respiratory system, cancer, and damage to the nervous system. Methane emissions contribute to global climate change and can result in fires or explosions when they accumulate in structures on or off the landfill site.

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