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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Vote pending on sewage plan

Advertiser Staff

Sand Island area residents and businesses still oppose a $34 million facility that would turn sewage into fertilizer at the wastewater treatment plant in their neighborhood.

The City Council could decide today whether to give final approval to the special management permit required to build the 116-foot-tall, egg-shaped "digester." The final vote on the issue has been delayed since August, due to concerns the community was not adequately informed about the plans.

The permit deals with the physical structure, not the recycled sludge, but a group called CASE (Citizens Advocating a Safe Environment) wants further tests to prove the manufacturing and use of the sludge does not cause a health hazard.

Currently, treated sludge is taken from the Sand Island Wastewater Treatment Plant and disposed of at the Waimanalo Gulch Landfill. The Synagro-WWT facility would convert the sludge to fertilizer at the plant, then truck the pellets out to be sold or used at city parks and other city grounds.

Those requesting a study include the Sand Island Business Association, Kalihi-Palama Neighborhood Board, Kalihi-Palama Community Council, Matson, Horizon Lines and ILWU.

The groups have been unable to agree with Synagro on a mutually acceptable test for the fertilizer.