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Solid Waste Management Plan adoption delayed

LIHU‘E — The Kaua‘i County Council deferred the adoption of the 2021 Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan on Wednesday, citing the need for further discussion.

This updated county plan, known as ISWMP, is mandated by the state every 10 years. The latest ISWMP was initially scheduled for completion and adoption in 2020, but was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The 161-page document provides cost analysis, identifies waste-management priorities and charts recommended paths forward, but is not law.

Lyndsey Lopez, a Jacobs Engineering consultant behind the 2021 ISWMP, said during the Wednesday council meeting that the plan was shaped, in part, by comments from community members.

Top themes identified through residents’ written and oral testimony, letters, petitions and social-media campaigns included general support of actions aligned with sustainability, curbside recycling, a material-recovery facility, curbside green-waste and food-waste collection, general opposition to a waste-to-energy plant, and more.

The ISWMP also suggests “a multi-pronged approach” addressing the pending closure of the Kekaha Landfill, which is projected to reach capacity by January 2027. An extending vertical expansion puts the landfill to a closure date of mid-2030.

Potential solutions include the construction of a new landfill on Ma‘alo Road north of Lihu‘e, or elsewhere; landfill mining in Kekaha; a conventional waste-to-energy plant; and anaerobic digestion, a process that breaks down organic waste. The resulting byproducts can be used as a renewable-energy source or fertilizer.

Some, however, claim the plan lacks focus.

“The information and discussion of the issues in the plan are very important. What the plan lacks, however, is a clear goal,” former mayor and councilmember JoAnn Yukimura said Wednesday on behalf of Zero Waste Kaua‘i. “This is important for prioritizing actions and for measuring whether the plan is working or not.”

Councilmembers later echoed some of Yukimura’s comments, noting more time is needed to review the plan and create a revised resolution that identifies best next steps.

“As the body to actually fund and move these plans forward, it’s so important for us to know what we want to prioritize first,” Council Vice Chair Mason Chock said.

Councilmember Luke Evslin agreed, noting he believed a previous council revised the last ISWMP resolution as well.

“I don’t intend to try and change the direction of it in any capacity,” Evslin said. “I think it’s just trying to highlight some of the stuff that’s already in there.”

The matter will be taken up again at the council’s Dec. 1 meeting.


Scott Yunker, reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or
Source: The Garden Island

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