The Green Living Guy

HONOLULU – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this week issued an order to the City and County of Honolulu and Waste Management, Inc., to take immediate steps to address stormwater violations at the Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill on Oahu. 

EPA’s ongoing review of operations at the landfill revealed violations of the Clean Water Act and the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit regulating stormwater discharges from the landfill. 

“The City and County of Honolulu and Waste Management must quickly complete work on stormwater protections at the landfill,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “We will be closely monitoring the work so runoff from future storms is properly controlled and residents’ health and Oahu’s coastal waters are protected.”

EPA found the City and Waste Management failed to comply with the requirements of the state of Hawaii’s NPDES stormwater general permit on at least three occasions associated with storm events in December 2010 and January 2011. The order cites failure to:

* prevent runoff of surface water that had come into contact with waste,
* control erosion to prevent loss of landfill cover or washout of refuse slopes,
* properly manage leachate, and
* retain and remove silt from surface water before it was discharged from the site.

The order requires completion of a project to completely separate stormwater generated outside of the landfill from stormwater generated at the landfill; submit to EPA for review and approval a study to evaluate the adequacy of the landfill’s stormwater detention basin pond and an enhanced stormwater monitoring plan; and submit monthly monitoring reports.

Waste Management is the contractor operating the landfill for the City and County of Honolulu. In December 2010 and January 2011, rains caused flooding at the landfill. A section of the landfill was flooded with stormwater, causing waste to be released, which resulted in beach contamination and beach closures. EPA’s previous order to Waste Management in January, which has since been completed, addressed the response and cleanup measures that were immediately needed to stabilize the landfill’s structure and stormwater controls.

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