April 1985 Home   Newsletters

May 1985

June-July 1985

Hazardous Waste Management - General Meeting
Overview of How Hazardous Wastes Are Managed in Hawaii (Anna Hoover)
President's Message (Dorothy Lum)
Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1985
Fund-Raisers: How Successful Are They?
New Dimensions in Planning, Zoning and Housing (Concluded) (Astrid Monson)
Bitterman Talks on International Broadcasting
1985 State Convention
Neighborhood Board Study
Vote Count Proves Remunerative
YW LeaderLuncheon VIII
Aloha to New Members...
May - June Calendar

An Overview of How Hazardous Wastes Are Managed in Hawaii

Nationwide, disposal or accidental leakage of' hazardous waste has polluted a number of lakes and rivers, threatened underground sources of drinking water and posed incalculable danger to human health, animal life and the environment. Such incidents prompted Congress to enact the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) in 1978, and resulted in the subsequent development of rules and regulations pertaining to hazardous waste management by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

RCRA defines hazardous wastes as manufacturing by-products or discarded materials which are ignitable, corrosive, reactive or toxic.

In 1983, the Hawaii State Department of health (DOH) terminated its 2-year effort to develop a program under guidelines for the state to take charge of hazardous waste management under RCRA.

A legislative Interim Committee to Review Hazardous Waste Management Practices in Hawaii conducted a 2-day public informational meeting on Aug. 23-24, 1984, to prepare a report for the 13th State Legislature. Excerpts are printed here:

Recent incidents in Hawaii involving violations of RCRA and Toxic Substance Control Act standards and the discovery of unmarked "midnight-dumped" drums of chemical wastes in local landfills have given rise to concern over the ability of the existing program, which is administered from EPA's San Francisco office, to adequately protect human health and the environment in Hawaii. These conditions have renewed calls to reevaluate the feasibility of state assumption of the EPA program.

The key feature of RCRA's hazardous waste management program is a "cradle-to-grave" amahifest system to track all significant quantities of hazardous wastes from generation to final disposal.

It has been roughly estimated that as much as 50,000 tons of hazardous wastes are generated in Hawaii each year. This includes RCRA-regulated hazardous wastes as well as non-regulated wastes such as PCB. Recent EPA survey data identified a total of 57 generators of hazardous wastes in Hawaii. All but a handful of these are classified as small quantity generators (SQG's)(i.e., generating less than 1,000 kg. per month). Since such generators are not currently subject to notification or reporting regulations under RCRA, the prevalence of SQG's in Hawaii presents administrative problems with respect to monitoring and compliance enforcement procedures.

Since there is no approved disposal site in Hawaii, hazardous waste generators must send their wastes to EPA-approved mainland sites. Most of the hazardous wastes generated in Hawaii are either recycled or treated and disposed of locally as a solid waste. For that waste which cannot be recycled or treated, there is a concern that mainland disposal site operators might refuse to accept wastes from Hawaii. This could occur because proposed amendments to RCRA may greatly increase the volume of hazardous wastes requiring disposal. Amens the recommendations of the Interim Committee are:

  1. A state hazardous waste management program initiated between state and EPA.

  2. Preparation of 5-year hazardous management program plan

  3. All state departments submit reports on hazardous waste management practices

  4. A public-private advisory committee appointed by governor to investigate feasibility of locating a disposal site in Hawaii, possibility of user fees to de-fray cost of hazardous waste management programs and to advise on other related matters

  5. Support and encourage an amnesty day type program to safely dispose of many household hazardous wastes presently in community.

Anna Hoover

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