A Car Repair Shop In Kailua Is Drawing Heat From Neighbors. - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

A Car Repair Shop In Kailua Is Drawing Heat From Neighbors.

By: Minna Sugimoto

KAILUA (KHNL) -- A viewer called KHNL's Talk Story line and reported seeing oil from cars spilling down a storm drain outside. We checked it out, and also got tips from the city on how we all can prevent harmful runoff.

When we arrive at Bes Auto Repair, the sidewalk out front is free of oil and other car fluids. We see no evidence of the environmentally-hazardous runoff an anonymous caller says is common here.

"They're just, you know, trying to look to, any way to get me to get in trouble or however you want to look at it," Barry Bettencourt, shop owner, said. "And it's getting tiring, you know. And it's like I'm just trying to make a living."

He believes his neighbors are complaining because his customers take many of the parking spaces on Kainehe Street.

"If they want me to move a car, I'll move it," he said. "But, you know, they don't have to take these measures."

But we do see a suspicious-looking liquid. Bettencourt says it's premium-grade, concrete floor cleaner. He shows us what happens to the orange powder when it mixes with water.

"It turns green, so they think it's anti-freeze," he said. "But it's not."

He brings in sawdust to absorb the liquid, and then sweeps it all up. The city's Environmental Services Department says it's one way to prevent polluted runoff.

You can also help protect Hawaii's waters by keeping gutters, curbs and sidewalks clean.

Gather up grass and tree cuttings, and dispose as green waste like the Millers do.

Use water-based paint and discard the container properly like Mel Namoca does.

And when you're out with your furry friends, pick up after them.

Bettencourt says he's careful because there's someone more powerful than the EPA -- his wife.

"If I don't get it from, you know, the public, I'll get it from her," he said, laughing.

The state has no record of violations for the Kailua shop. The city says it cited Bes Auto Repair back in May 2003 for an illegal discharge into the storm drain system, but has had no problems with the shop since.

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