Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Hawaii News

by Ferd Lewis

June 14, 2020

Updated 11:38 pm

The company that operates the only public construction and demolition landfill and recycling facility on Oahu said a proposal that would require a buffer zone around the construction or expansion of disposal facilities “would be a disaster for the construction industry” and “drive up costs for construction projects of all sizes, including the new Aloha Stadium development.”

Passage of Senate Bill 2386, introduced by Sen. Kai Kahele (D, Hilo) and part of a Senate Native Hawaiian Caucus package, would require at least a half-mile buffer zone around residences, schools and hospitals for the construction, modification, or expansion of a waste or disposal facility. In addition, it would prohibit any waste or disposal facility from being located in a conservation district, except in emergency circumstances.

PVT Land Co. president and CEO Albert Shigemura said the company, which operates a landfill in Nanakuli that is nearing its capacity, is seeking approval to expand to an adjacent 180-acre site it owns across Lualualei Naval Road. Once opened, Shigemura said, the new facility could have a life of 30 years. He said the buffer would be 750 feet on the southern boundary.

But Shigemura said, “If Senate Bill 2386 is passed into law, our company will be unable to accept material from the old Aloha Stadium demolition at our existing landfill and recycling facility. We will not have the space available to accept demolition materials from such a large project, as our existing landfill is expected to reach capacity in five years.”

He said, “Construction jobs would be lost. Contractors would have to make difficult and costly decisions on how to dispose of demolition and construction materials. We would likely see an increase in illegal dumping.”

The bill is supported by a number of environmental and Hawaiian organizations. “No community should suffer the negative health impacts and decrease in quality of life from a waste or disposal facility, including a landfill,” the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs said in testimony. “This bill … would ensure a minimum safe distance of one-half mile from such facilities for the public. Let’s make sure such sites, including landfills, are not in anyone’s backyard.”

In its testimony, the Sierra Club said, “Residents in the area are reporting health issues related to exposure to landfill pollution, dust debris, asbestos and other harmful chemicals while recent U.S. Census data shows life expectancies in Nanakuli are 10 years less than the Hawaii average.”

Shigemura pushed back on those claims as they relate to PVT.

“There have been nine studies done (on) dust from PVT’s property and none of the studies have found any health hazards to PVT’s workers or nearby residents,” he said.

The current 50,000-seat Aloha Stadium would be torn down once the new stadium, which has a projected opening date of September 2023, debuts. The state is allocating up to $350 million for the construction, with additional funds to come from its eventual private development partner.

The New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District environmental impact statement process is underway and Stacey Jones, owner and principal of Crawford Architects, a state consultant on the project, said, “The draft EIS will deal with some of this as sustainability requirements with respect to appropriate methodologies for dealing with demolished material to be reused and recycled.”

Jones said, “As with all building projects, some demolition and construction waste will need to be taken off-site, but this will be minimized in accordance with NASED’s intention to seek Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification for the master plan and buildings therein proposed by the selected developer.”

Jones estimated that about 95% of construction debris from the stadium would be diverted from landfill, “which means 35,000 tons of debris otherwise destined to be dumped will not find its way into the ground.”

In its discussion of a proposed resolution similar to SB 2386 last month, a Honolulu City Council committee was told by Lori Kahikina, city Director of Environmental Services, “If PVT, or another entity, cannot handle the (construction and demolition material) on the island, the city will be responsible for dealing with that, whether it is putting it in another landfill, putting it in our existing landfill (or) shipping it off-island … something.”

Kahikina told the Zoning, Planning and Housing Committee, “(From) what I understand in the past, it has taken seven to 10 years to site and install a new landfill ready for acceptance.”

The city has postponed action on the measure.