AIEA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Fed by natural springs, the Kalauao Stream in Aiea has been known for its clean waters since ancient times.
But at a section between the Pearlridge Center and the Sumida Farm's watercress fields, a block-long layer of milky, smelly substance now pollutes the canal.
Environmental activist Carroll Cox blames contractors working for the center.
In a complaint filed with the state Health Department, he said he saw the workers Wednesday afternoon using a power washer to clean up a spill from a nearby commercial grease trap.
He said the workers sprayed the used cooking oil into the streambed.
"Clearly, it's a cover-up. It's wrong and I hope they get prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," he said.
But a mall manager said the contractors were just removing debris as part of a monthly clean-up.
"The individuals captured in the footage were pressure washing algae off the canal walls using only water," said Fred Paine, Pearlridge's general manager.
Cox said that's not what one of the contractors told him.
"I asked one of them where did this come from he said a grease trap," said Cox. "He said their boss told them to clean it up."
At the time, the men were power washing the canal, Cox said he took photos of the grease trap overfilling.
The pungent odor of used cooking oil near the grease trap was also present about 100 yards downstream.
"It's harmful to fish" and endangered birds that nest in the area, he said. "A drop of oil on an egg will kill that egg."