Molokai landfill is considering expansion ideas

With parts of the Molokai landfill expected to reach full capacity in coming years, Maui County is proposing expansions on the property to allow for the island’s future disposal needs.

The county is proposing to add two new disposal sites and relocate the existing green waste facility to a new site on the property, according to a draft environmental assessment published in the May 8 edition of the Office of Environmental Quality Control’s “Environmental Notice.”

The Molokai Integrated Solid Waste Management Facility is located on a 38-acre parcel about three miles northwest of Kaunakakai town. It’s the island’s only municipal solid waste disposal facility and offers a recycling center for glass, aluminum and plastic containers accepted under the state’s HI-5 recycling program. The facility also accepts cardboard, newspapers and used motor oil, as well as green waste that is shredded to use as mulch onsite or provided free to residents.

Since 1993, four disposal sites have been opened on the property. They encompass 11.6 acres and can be filled with waste up to about 50 feet above the surrounding land. They’re expected to reach full capacity by mid-2020.

To prepare, the county Department of Environmental Management wants to open two additional disposal sites that would take up 6.8 acres. That would bring the landfill’s total footprint to 18.4 acres.

Plans also call for relocating the existing green waste facility, which is currently located in the area where the county wants to open one of the new disposal sites. The green waste facility would be moved to the west of Molokai Metals, a separate facility that accepts and processes scrap vehicles, appliances and other scrap metal for storage and recycling.

Other improvements would include installing permanent fencing, perimeter drainage and road improvements. An entrance channel would be installed to carry runoff to an existing stormwater basin on site.

The project would cost an estimated $6.5 million. The department would develop the first of the two new disposal sites in fiscal year 2019, with the second to follow in fiscal year 2024. The improvements would allow the landfill to accommodate the island’s disposal needs through 2038.

Plans to replace the Makakupa’ia Bridge on Molokai were also included in the latest edition of the “Environmental Notice.” The bridge was built in 1940 and is located about four miles east of Kaunakakai town. Based on national standards, the bridge needs to be replaced, according to the draft environmental assessment.

The state Department of Transportation is proposing to demolish the existing bridge and construct a new one that’s up to speed with state and federal standards. The current bridge is 23 feet long and 28 feet wide, with two 11-foot lanes and two-foot shoulders. The new bridge would be 49 feet long and 42 feet wide. It would still provide two lanes but would come with widened shoulders for pedestrians and cyclists.

Construction on the project would start in 2020 and would take 18 to 24 months. The estimated cost is $6 million and would come from 80 percent federal funding and 20 percent state funding. During construction, a temporary bypass road would be built mauka of the project. The road would be removed after the project’s completion.

Public comments on both projects are due June 7. Comments on the landfill improvements can be sent to Stewart Stant, director of the county Department of Environmental Management at environmental.mgmt@mauicounty.gov, by phone at 270-8230 or via mail at 2050 Main Street, Suite 2B, Wailuku, HI 96793.

Comments on the bridge replacement can be sent to the project manager, Christine Yamasaki, at the state Department of Transportation at christine.yamasaki@hawaii.gov, by phone at (808) 692-7572 or via mail at 601 Kamokila Blvd., Room 609, Kapolei, HI 96707.

* Colleen Uechi can be reached at cuechi@mauinews.com.

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