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Two Hawai'i landfills cited for violating clean air laws

Release Date: 04/06/2006
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, (808) 541-2711

(04/06/06 -- SAN FRANCISCO) HONOLULU – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced that Waste Management of Hawaii, Inc., and island governments on Oahu and Hawai’i have violated the Clean Air Act at the Waimanalo Gulch landfill at Kapolei and West Hawai’i landfill at Waikoloa.

The violations pertain to the Waimanalo Gulch landfill at Kapolei on Oahu and West Hawai’i landfill at Waikoloa on the Big Island. The Waimanalo Gulch landfill is owned by the City and County of Honolulu, and the West Hawai’i landfill is owned by the County of Hawai’i. Both landfills are run and operated for the counties by Waste Management of Hawaii, Inc.

“Landfill owners and operators need to meet the planning, permitting and control requirements to comply with clean air rules,” said Deborah Jordan, director for the EPA Pacific Southwest Region’s Air Division. “The goal of our action is to ensure that Waste Management and the counties effectively control emissions from both landfills.”

At the Waimanalo Gulch landfill, EPA inspectors found that the gas collection and control system was installed seven years late in August 2005, and does not meet requirements. At the West Hawaii landfill, Waste Management and the County of Hawai’i violated several reporting requirements. Both landfills have been required to comply with the clean air rules since March 1996.

The EPA is requiring Waste Management and the counties to get both landfills into compliance with clean air rules. Under the Clean Air Act, they could face fines of up to $32,500 per day, per violation. Staff from the Hawai’i Department of Health’s Clean Air Branch provided assistance to the EPA’s investigators.

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.