Waianae company accused of illegally dumping before - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

EXCLUSIVE: Waianae company accused of illegally dumping before

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WAIANAE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The company at the center of the Waianae dumping controversy has been accused of illegally dumping materials by other property owners on the Leeward Coast.

Hawaii News Now has learned that one of the lawsuits filed last year by a Waianae couple alleges that SER Trucking and several other companies dumped hazardous materials at their 6.5-acre parcel, prompting federal and state inquiries.

Another lawsuit filed in 1993 alleges that a company linked to SER, Silva's Equipment Rental, unloaded 11,000 cubic yards of fill on their 2.5 acre parcel without their permission, prompting the city to threaten the landowner with fines of up to $1,000 a day.

"I would characterize this as is a serial dumper," said environmental activist Carroll Cox.

"The activities involved ...seem to be repeated acts of illegal dumping and the improper disposal."

SER officials did not return a call for comment. But in the past, the company has said it had proper permits for stockpiling materials on their property.

The company attracted the attention of the Waianae community after one of its trucks spilled tons of sludge dredged from the Hawaii Kai Marina two weeks ago. The dumping of the grayish brown muck on SER's property prompted Waianae community leaders to call for a halt to the dumping.

SER is headed by Waianae resident Sandra Silva. Silva's Equipment was headed by her husband Hiram Silva.

The 2012 lawsuit -- filed by John and Charmaine Smith -- says that parts of their Waianae property were elevated by as much 30 feet due to illegal dumping. Materials included rubble from construction sites, oil barrels and fuel, and even a transformer.

The 2012 lawsuit is still pending but the 1993 suit was settled out of court, with the landowners receiving a undisclosed payment.

Cox said the company's track record should have put state, federal and city regulators on alert about SER.

"They knew about this and they knew about the history of this company so they should have been more aggressive," he said.

City Councilwoman Kymberly Pine today called on the city to deny future permits that will allow dumping on Waianae property.

"My community has a lot of concerns. One, they don't know what in there. They also question whether any of the soil has been tested," she said.

Many Waianae residents criticized the Hawaii Kai Marina for dumping their waste product in their neighborhood.

"It's not just another community but it's an affluent community," said Kapua Keliikoa-Kamai, who lives a few blocks from the Silva's dump site.

"So it's not that were are encouraging toxic or illegal dumping anywhere but to bring it from your community to my community is very insulting."

Sam Kapoi, also of Waianae added: "I would hate to dump it anywhere but at the same time if your going to excrete stuff in your community, leave it in your community. Don't bring it to the west side."

The city has ordered a halt to the dumping on SER's land but Pine says she plans to introduce legislation and work with state lawmakers to make it harder to operate an illegal dump.

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