February 22, 2024

More than 2,700 people participate in County surveys on possible Permanent Disposal Sites

More than 2,700 people over a two-week period participated in County of Maui surveys on proposed Permanent Disposal Sites (PDS) for Lahaina wildfire ash and debris.

The results of the surveys, which will guide county officials in selecting the final site, were presented to community members during Wednesday night’s Weekly Disaster Recovery Community Update Meeting at Lahaina Civic Center. To view results, visit www.mauirecovers.org/debriscontainment.

Surveys were conducted Jan. 31 through Feb. 15. County contractor Anthology conducted a random-sample scientific survey via phone and email that verified identity and residency with 430 respondents. A county-facilitated online public survey that could not verify identity and residency had 2,327 respondents.

Highlights of the surveys include the following:

  • When assessing values, respondents to both surveys ranked proximity, including public and environmental health, as most important; consultation with subject-matter experts and input from the community as second; and logistics, including road safety concerns, timeline, increase in traffic, as third.
  • Respondents feel very strongly about where the site should be located. About one in four people in the scientific survey feel strongly that the final site should not be located in West Maui; whereas about two in four people in the public survey feel strongly that the final site should not be located in West Maui.
  • Approximately 56% of respondents to the public survey identified as being from West Maui and/or West Maui residents.
  • Approximately 78% of respondents to both surveys identified as being lifetime residents or living here for more than 20 years.
  • Approximately 49% of respondents in the public survey identified as being directly impacted by the wildfires.
  • There was nearly an even age representation among kūpuna, young adults and middle-aged adults in both surveys.

In order for more than 12,000 Lahaina residents to return to their properties, about 400,000 cubic yards of wildfire ash and debris must be removed and transported out of Lahaina. A temporary debris storage site has been constructed at Olowalu, but a permanent site must be selected and built.

From an original list of eight sites on island, public input and government officials have narrowed options to three potentially viable locations: Central Maui Landfill area adjacent to the current Puʻunēnē landfill in Central Maui; Wahikuli parcel mauka of Wahikuli neighborhood in West Maui; and Crater Village area mauka of Wahikuli parcel and Lahaina Civic Center in West Maui.

County officials have set March 1 as the target date for selecting the PDS.

To view the full Feb. 21 community meeting, visit County of Maui’s Facebook Page; an account is not needed.