Federal Agents Say Hazardous Waste Being Dumped in Waianae - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Federal Agents Say Hazardous Waste Being Dumped in Waianae

By Minna Sugimoto

WAIANAE (KHNL) --- They're accused of treating the land like a rubbish can, disposing of hazardous waste by simply burying it. But on Tuesday, people leasing a large property in Leeward Oahu were greeted by armed federal agents.

With his rifle strapped on, a federal agent stands guard as officers scour the property behind him.

"Armed, automatic machine guns, standing there and not letting anybody go onto the property," Inez Larson, neighbor, described. "And I just thought that was awesome and radical."

Neighbors, like Inez Larson, rejoice when the Environmental Protection Agency and its partners swarm a 10-acre site where, they say, illegal dumping takes place.

"Great," Larson said. "It's about time."

You can see old vehicles piled up, and car parts scattered around. Investigators say people here would get rid of hazardous materials -- such as gasoline, oil, batteries and antifreeze -- by burying them in the ground.

"Companies in Hawaii would pay money to the lessee in order to allow them to dump their waste on that property," Ed Kubo, U.S. Attorney, said. "The pure motive is inconvenience to do it the right way and a bigger profit."

Larson says she could hear it all.

"They would drill constantly. Like all day long, you hear this tack, tack, tack, tack, this drilling," she said. "And they're trying to inject sewage and rubbish underground."

"We're talking deep, deep holes, which shows calculation," Kubo said. "It shows an attempt to hide a crime."

The EPA says there's no immediate health risk. But there is potential.

"These types of materials also have the potential of seeping out into our oceans, damaging our fish and also our reefs," Kubo said. "These materials also have the potential of seeping downward into our precious drinking water."

"It's obviously something I don't want in my neighborhood," Larson said.

Two people were arrested on suspicion of firearms offenses.

Federal prosecutors say chemical samples are still being collected and analyzed. Once that process is complete, they expect to make additional arrests.

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