KAILUA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - State Health Department inspectors today scoured a property on the north end of the Kawainui Marsh, taking photos of petroleum sludge allegedly dumped by a tenant.
The state is investigating Hawaiian Pumping Specialist for cleaning out its tanks for transporting used oil and allegedly dumping thousands of gallons of that oily substance onto a football field-sized lot next to the wetlands.
The company is also under investigation for transporting the petroleum materials on Hawaii's roads without the proper permits.
"I have heard from a number of Neighborhood Board members that someone should do something about this," said Chuck Prentiss, Chairman of the Kailua Neighborhood Board.
Added fellow board member Donna Wong: I'm shocked and immediately concerned for Kapaa stream which has already been declared an impaired water body."
Inspectors also checked for contamination in that stream, which connects to the protected wildlife refuge.
A company representative told us tonight that they never dumped oil in that stream. But here's what a former employee told us about his ex-boss, Dingo Sanchez.
"There was over 1,000 gallons of product there -- diesel, left over bilge water and oily water. He literally opened up the back of the truck and dumped it into the river," said Charles Popken, a former Hawaiian Pumping manager.
Hawaiian Pumping collects that used oil from nearby military bases, ships and power plants. It's supposed to send it to a landfill or to a mainland processor.
"This is substantial because of the volume and the quantity and type and the potential for contamination is very high," said environmental activist Carroll Cox.
If the company is found to have violated environmental laws, it would face fines up to $25,000 a day.