UPDATED 9/2/11 3:30 p.m.

Seats at the Mission Memorial Auditorium in downtown Honolulu were left largely empty during a community meting Monday to discuss the controversial hauling of sludge from the Sand Island Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Led by Tim Steinberger, director of the City’s Department of Environmental Services, speakers also included Bill Massa, CEO and president of Houston-based Synagro, a private company that helps manage the wastewater plant; and Sina Pruder, from the Department of Health’s wastewater branch.1

The meeting, which lacked a Q&A session, provided an overview of the technical issues that the wastewater facility faced, and what lies ahead.

In addition to an environmental assessment, the city is conducting a feasibility study to see how much waste can be trucked to other facilities in Honouliuli, Kailua and Waianae.

Currently, only the Honouliuli plant can begin receiving the excess sludge. The Kailua plant is undergoing repairs and the Waianae plant is at capacity as it’s still recovering from the trucking of floodwaters from the Waimanalo Gulch landfill spill.

It remains to be seen how much sludge the other wastewater treatment plants will be able to accommodate, what type of odor it may create and whether the city has the necessary equipment to be able to transfer the waste. These issues will be explored in the feasibility study. The city’s contingency plan includes placing a moratorium on new, metropolitan-area building permits.

The powerpoint presentation of the meeting can be found below.

  1. An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the CEO of Synagro as David Massa. His first name is Bill.

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