It cost at least $2.2 million to clean up the mess left after January rains washed garbage out into the ocean from the Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill.
That figure was revealed in the final report submitted by Waste Management Hawaii, which runs the landfill for the city, to the Environmental Protection Agency earlier this month.
It includes only costs paid to contractors hired to help but does not include internal costs like labor, Hawaii general excise tax or “markup” by Waste Management. The report includes more than 800 pages of invoices to back up its expenses.
Source: Waste Management final report, Aug. 10, 2011
The expenses — which include items like liner repair, pond pumping and even legal fees — stemmed from an administrative order issued by the EPA in late January. The final report was the final step required by that order, and the EPA now says that Waste Management has complied with every request and every demand.
But the EPA’s approval of Waste Management’s final report does not mean the city or the company it hired to run the landfill are in the clear. In the letter sent to Waste Management General Manager Joe Whelan Aug. 24, the EPA wrote that complying with its administrative order “should not be construed as approval of or agreement with any opinions or characterizations presented in the report, such as circumstances leading to the release.”
Landfill trash, which included medical waste like used syringes, washed up on Leeward Oahu beaches after heavy rains overwhelmed the landfill. The state Department of Health said the garbage-laden water was discharged to avoid a larger landfill catastrophe. And though the state originally claimed that the EPA authorized the discharge, the federal government denied giving that advance approval.
A penalty for violations of state or federal environmental laws could still be forthcoming.
Read the first 1,015 pages of the Waste Management final report, signed Aug. 10: