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EPA sues bankrupt Oahu Sugar Co. over pesticide dumping in Waipio

Published: Apr. 26, 2021 at 5:42 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Environmental Protection Agency has sued the bankrupt Oahu Sugar Co. and it’s mainland owners over pesticide dumping.

In a federal court lawsuit filed last week, the EPA alleged that Oahu Sugar ― which shut down in 1995 and filed for bankruptcy in 2005 ― operated a pesticide mixing plant on the Waipio penninsula for decades that spilled toxic chemicals into the land.

“I see an ecological nightmare going unchecked,” said environmental activist Carroll Cox, who has documented the contamination since 2005.

“We have potential for leaching of chemicals and contaminants into the soil and eventually into the water and the ocean.”

The property is across from Pearl Harbor and is next to the Waipio Pennisula Soccer Park.

“Thousands of people come here and gather to play soccer,” Cox said.

The EPA is seeking $7.5 million to clean up, restore and monitor the property.

The federal agency also has been monitoring the contamination since at least 2005 but was unable to take legal action because of the bankruptcy.

But the bankruptcy ended in 2019, prompting the suit.

According to the EPA, the land is contaminated by high levels of carcinogens and other toxic chemical.

It’s unclear which law firm now represents the company. HNN reached out to several former attorneys and they declined comment.

In a 2005 letter to the EPA, attorney Lisa Munger wrote, “Oahu Sugar does not admit that its former facility poses an imminent and substantial endangerment to public health, welfare or the environment.”

Munger said she no longer represents the company.

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