Hundreds of burned cars removed from illegal junkyard on state farmland

It took about a week for private company working with the state to haul away the burned out vehicles.
Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 5:13 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 18, 2021 at 5:34 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It took several years to illegally stockpile an estimated 1,000 junked cars on state farm land in Poamoho.

But it took about a week for private company working with the state to haul away the burned out vehicles.

“It’s good for the community because now the illegal dumping, the encroachment and trespassing in that particular area will hopefully fade away and we’ll see those lands productive,” said state Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, who represents the area.

The state Agribusiness Development Corporation, which owns the land on Kamehameha Highway near Kamananui Road, is finalizing an agreement with tenants to farm the land. It said the land could be producing crops by next year.

Last month’s fire burned everything in the cars that was not made of metal, making it easier for recycler Schnitzer Steel to crush them and remove them from the property.

Schnitzer Steel, which is working with the state, gets to keep the 700 tons of scrap metal for recycling but is not charging taxpayers for the work.

“They did a tremendous job ... They didn’t just clean the cars up. They documented where the waste would be and where unknown waste that needs to be further evaluated could be found,” said environmental watchdog Carroll Cox.

Cox said more work will likely have to be done before the land can be farmed. That’s because the fire destroyed car batteries and AC systems and their chemicals can seep into the ground.

The clean-up, he said, will fall to the state agribusiness agency and cost is unknown.

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