Hawaiian Waste Systems gets USDA approval to ship waste to Mainland
Hawaiian Waste Systems received clearance today from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to transport Oahu's waste to a landfill in Washington state.
But it's still unclear when, or even if, the embattled company is ready to follow through on its contract with the city.
A finding of no significant impact was published in the Federal Register today. That cleared the way for a compliance agreement between USDA and Hawaiian Waste to be approved by federal officials.
"The compliance agreement is completed and once signed by HWS, they may begin work," said Larry Hawkins, a USDA spokesman.
Hawaiian Waste chief executive Mike Chutz, who is based on the Mainland, could not be reached for comment today.
Hawaiian Waste Systems has been collecting garbage from the city since Sept. 28 and was expected to begin shipping it to the Mainland in October. Instead, about 20,000 tons of garbage have piled up at Campbell Industrial Park while the company has been waiting for approval from the USDA. The city has since been told by the company to stop sending waste to its Campbell Industrial Park facility.
Shipping trash to the Mainland is one way the city hopes to cut down on garbage going to Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill, the only facility on O'ahu that accepts municipal solid waste. Hawaiian Waste's contract calls for shipping up to 100,000 tons of trash annually to a landfill in Washington state.
City Council members have expressed growing frustration about the contract and some have called for it to be cancelled or ended in some other manner.