Landfills settlement reached
Maui County has agreed to a settlement with the state Health Department totaling $140,000 for violations at the Central Maui and the Molokai landfills in 2011, the Health Department said.
Half of the settlement is to be used for a household hazardous waste collection program for the county to be conducted in the current fiscal year, which runs until June 30. Maui County is the only county in the state without regularly scheduled collections of these materials, the Health Department said in a news release Thursday.
Because household hazardous waste collections are not required by the Health Department, the items to be collected and other parameters will be determined by the county, the Health Department said. On Oahu, household hazardous waste includes fertilizers, pesticides, paint removers and photographic chemicals.
While the program is still being developed, Rod Antone, Maui County spokesman, said Friday that it will be an event-based collection program at various locations. The goal will be to help residents safely get rid of items that should be kept out the landfill, such as solvents, batteries and hazardous chemicals, he added.
The other half of the settlement – or $70,000 – is a fine, the Health Department said.
At the Central Maui Landfill, the Health Department cited the county for three counts of permit violations in a rainy January to April 2011. The county was cited for failing to keep liquid material that leached to the bottom of the landfill, which has a protective barrier, at or below maximum prescribed levels and for not recording the levels of the liquid after a storm event, the Health Department said.
The county is required to regularly remove the leached liquid from the liner at the bottom of the landfill and take it to the wastewater treatment plant, Health Department officials said.
Initially, the Health Department imposed a $121,900 administrative penalty, which was reduced as part of the settlement.
Two violations were lodged by the Health Department at the Molokai landfill in April 2011 for failing to minimize litter generation and to cover material daily. Basically, an area of the landfill with waste material was not covered.
“It is primary landfill management,” said Steve Chang of the Health Department Solid and Hazardous Waste Branch Friday. “At the end of the day, you cover it with suitable material.”
If waste material were not properly covered, the pile could attract vectors, such as flies and rats, generate odor problems and create litter, he said.
The initial administration fine for the Molokai violations was $20,955, the Health Department said.
“We believe the settlement is a reasonable resolution to the issues, and we are pleased that part of the resolution incorporates a household hazardous waste project that is beneficial for our community,” said Antone.
“The whole focus is to get the county back into compliance,” said Chang.
The violations were discovered through county-reported information and Health Department inspections, Antone said.
* Lee Imada can be reached at email@example.com.