Trash pickups delayed, landfill closed by blaze

Maui firefighters were working through a “slow process” Monday afternoon to extinguish a compost fire that started Sunday afternoon, closed the Central Maui Landfill and recycling operations there and delayed collections of residential trash on most of the Valley Isle.

After 4 p.m. Monday, the smoldering fire was 80 percent contained, according to Fire Services Chief Lee Mainaga. A Maui Fire Department engine company and three tankers remained at the landfill with three Department of Public Works tankers, two loaders and two bulldozers, he added.

The bulldozers were spreading compost at the EKO Compost site at the landfill, and tankers were dousing hot spots, he said, adding that it was a “slow process.”

The blaze shut down the landfill and EKO Compost on Monday because of fire and smoke, and it remained uncertain if either facility would reopen today, officials said. Pacific Biodiesel also was closed.

“All of Maui’s normally scheduled trash pickup routes – with the exception of Hana – will be delayed” until today, county spokesman Rod Antone said Monday.

Today’s curbside trash collections would be pushed back until this afternoon or Wednesday morning, he said.

The Olowalu Recycling and Refuse Convenience Center was closed Monday and possibly would stay shut down today, Antone said. With the closure of the Central Maui Landfill, the Olowalu facility reached its capacity and couldn’t take more materials.

The fire was reported at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Central Maui Landfill and initially involved about 2 acres of compost material, Antone said. County firefighters responded and were assisted by county Department of Public Works water tanker and bulldozer crews, along with state airport firefighters.