The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that the County of Maui has agreed to a settlement to resolve alleged violations of air pollution laws at Central Maui Landfill in Puunene.
The settlement requires the County to implement enhanced gas monitoring to help reduce the threat of underground fires at the landfill and to follow fire response procedures in the event of a fire. Additionally, the County will be building a renewable energy wind farm to reduce fossil fuel power plant emissions near the landfill. The County will also pay a civil penalty of $380,000.
“Today’s settlement is good news for the families living in Kahului,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Achieving compliance with the Clean Air Act and reducing emissions at a landfill and the power plant, while supporting renewable energy, is a win-win.”
The County estimates that it has spent about $4.5 million to design and construct a gas collection and control system required by the Clean Air Act at the landfill. Federal law requires large landfills to install and operate systems to collect gases generated by decomposing refuse, such as air toxics, organic compounds, and methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Effective gas controls at the landfill reduces the release of these gases, preventing them from escaping into the atmosphere.
Maui will also benefit by the reduction of power plant emissions as a result of the wind turbine project. The County is responsible for the installation of at least eight wind turbines collectively capable of generating approximately 55,000 kilowatt hours per year which could supply up to 38 percent of the Landfill’s power needs. The wind turbines and installation are estimated to cost at least $250,000. In addition to reducing emissions from power generated by fossil fuels, the project is aligned with sustainability goals of the County and the State of Hawaii.
The settlement resolves allegations that the County violated the Clean Air Act by failing to design, construct and operate a gas collection/control system, apply for a permit from the Hawaii Department of Health, prepare a startup, shutdown and malfunction plan, and operate controls within the gas temperature limit.
The consent decree, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and court approval and may be viewed at www.justice.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html.
For more information about CAA landfill regulations, please visit the EPA’s web site at: http://www.epa.gov/ttn/atw/landfill/landflpg.html#IMP.