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Landfill Expansion Planned


Molokai’s landfill is looming larger each year, and the existing facility is slated to reach capacity by mid-2020. Maui County’s Dept. of Environmental Management is now proposing a $6.5 million plan to add two new disposal cells to the Molokai Integrated Solid Waste Management Facility in Na`iwa that would bury the island’s waste disposal needs until 2038.

The two-phase expansion of disposal cells would increase the size of the existing 11.6 acre landfill to 18.4 acres. Phase 5 is projected for development in 2019 and Phase 6 would be completed in 2024. The project also includes relocating the existing green waste facility to another location at the landfill, as it currently exists where Phase 6 is planned.

The landfill is about three miles west of Kaunakakai on a 38-acre parcel and has served as the island’s only solid waste disposal since 1993. Locally known as “Mount Opala,” residents have noticed the landfill’s growing visual impact as more and more waste is buried there.

Phases 1 through 4 of the landfill were opened for use between 1993 and 2014. The facility includes a recycling center for HI-5 collection of glass, aluminum, and plastic containers as well as other materials like cardboard, glass, and used motor oil. Green waste is shredded for mulch at the landfill or offered free to residents. Molokai Metals is a separate facility that accepts scrap vehicles, appliances, and other scrap metal for recycling.

The proposed improvements would be funded by the County of Maui and include installation of permanent fencing, drainage and road improvements.

One alternative proposed in the draft environmental assessment involves increasing the height of the landfill, rather than increasing the size of its footprint horizontally. The current landfill is regulated to a maximum elevation of 290 feet above sea level, and the expansion alternative suggests increasing the maximum fill elevation to 330 feet. This would extend the life of the landfill approximately nine more years, but is not considered ideal because of the regulatory timeline required for approval would likely extend past 2020, when the current landfill will reach full capacity.

The Molokai Planning Commission will be discussing the project and offering comments on the Draft Environmental Assessment at their Wednesday, May 23 meeting at 11 a.m. at the Mitchell Pauole Center.

To read the full draft environmental assessment, visit oeqc2.doh.hawaii.gov, click on “EA and EIS Library” and scroll down for the Molokai Landfill Improvements document.

Send comments on the project by June 7 to Department of Environmental Management, County of Maui, 2050 Main Street, Suite 2B, Wailuku, HI 96793 or email environmental.mgmt@mauicounty.gov.


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