South Hilo Landfill Closure Nears Completion

June 10, 2020, 2:16 PM HST
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Hilo’s aging landfill will have to be dealt with by the next mayor. Image file from Wikimedia Commons.

The South Hilo Sanitary Landfill will soon be closed for good, according to a statement from Hawai‘i County Wednesday.

The Department of Environmental Management’s Solid Waste Division began the process of closing the landfill in August 2019 with its contractor, Kiewit Construction, and the project is now nearing completion.

Solid Waste began the process of closing the landfill when it hired HDR Engineering to facilitate the closure plan, which was submitted to and approved by the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Health.

The project consists of capping the 40-acre waste fill with soil cover, a polyethylene liner, synthetic turf liner, and installation of stormwater management structures. The green synthetic turf grass (like that used on indoor football fields) was placed over the polyethylene liner and sealed. The amount of turf installed could cover over 30 football fields.

The capping method is the first to be permitted and constructed in Hawaiʻi and is expected to reduce overall maintenance, according to the county’s press release.


The use of the landfill goes back to the 1960s, and it received the last truckload of waste in December 2019. The project is expected to be substantially complete by mid-June of 2020.

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