EPA cleans up hazardous waste in Waianae - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

EPA cleans up hazardous waste in Waianae

Dean Higuchi Dean Higuchi
Clayton Calarruda Clayton Calarruda

By Leland Kim - bio | email

WAIANAE (KHNL) - The waters off the leeward coast are now safer, thanks to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Its emergency response crew spent last week cleaning up hazardous materials off of Hakimo Road in Waianae.

They spent $500,000 for this cleanup project. EPA's been trying to get the property owner to clean up the mess, but ended up having to do the work themselves.

Take a drive up the leeward coast, and you're greeted by beautiful sites.

"This is Waianae: God's country and it's the place be at," said Clayton Calarruda, who has lived in Waianae all his life.

It's also a place where dangerous contaminants polluted a property near this stretch of the beach near Hakimo Road. The Environmental Protection Agency had to step in.

"When you look at hazardous waste, depending upon what it is," said Dean Higuchi, a spokesperson at Hawaii's EPA office. "You're looking at toxic effects to animals and the reefs itself and also to people."

The concern was lead acid batteries and contaminants could leach into the ocean. Exposure to high levels of lead can cause brain and kidney damage, and sometimes cause death.

"Any kind of clean up will make the public happy but I doubt that they cleaned it up completely," said Calarruda.

He adds he's not convinced the danger has been eliminated.

"I'm sure there's a risk every time there's a storm because if it's going to come on shore, it's going to come on whenever the ocean is rough and there's always risk," said Calarruda.

But the EPA says the risk, at least near Hakimo Road, has been greatly reduced.

"At this particular site, after all the sampling was done, we looked at the soil, didn't find a lot of leeching of the contaminants, whether it's lead or anything else," said Higuchi. "The residents are safe."

The EPA says there's still more work to be done, to make sure this site is fully cleaned up, and they stress, prevention is the key.

The EPA says illegal dumping can cause serious environmental issues, so they suggest looking into proper ways of getting rid of your solid and hazardous waste.

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