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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, May 13, 2010

State fines city $424,000 for Waimanalo Gulch permit violation

Advertiser Staff

The state fined the city and the company which operates the Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill $424,000 for violating their permit.

The state Department of Health said the city and landfill operator Waste Management of Hawai'i failed to construct the west berm of the operating landfill in accordance with its design specifications.

The city and Waste Management also failed to notify the department of what it had done in a timely fashion, and did not submit quality assurance reports regarding the berm as required, the department said.

Waste Management has already begun construction of a west berm buttress in accordance with new design specifications after getting the go-ahead from the Health Department, said Steven Chang, chief of the state's Solid and Hazardous Waste Branch.

Chang said that the berm, which helps stabilize and support the western wall of the landfill, was completed in May 2007. But the Health Department did not realize violations had occurred until they looked at final construction quality assurance reports that were submitted this past February.

"There was some problem with the liner they used," Chang said. "They used a different kind of liner."

He stressed that the failure to follow the design specifications that Waste Management's own subcontractors had created did not create a safety issue.

Nonetheless, Chang said, "we have to hold them to (the specifications) they submitted to us."