Landfill "Crisis" Worsens, Honolulu Officials Say

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City officials say they're facing a "crisis-level" sewage and garbage back-up as they work to reopen Waimanalo Gulch after the landfill flooded nearly two weeks ago, pouring medical waste and other debris into the Pacific Ocean.

"This is absolutely an emergency," City Council member Tulsi Gabbard Tamayo told Civil Beat. "We should have had a lot more urgent response from the beginning, and the priority at this point obviously needs to be to get that landfill open so we don't have blockages and accumulations of different types of waste across the island."

Tamayo, along with City Council member Stanley Chang, called a joint City Council committee hearing Monday morning to discuss response to the landfill spill. The landfill itself remains closed and in disrepair: a diversion channel to prevent a similar flood isn't complete, and there are damages to a liner keeps garbage from seeping into the ground.

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