EXCLUSIVE: Waianae residents in uproar over dump
The head of the Hawaii Kai association that's dumping tons of sludge in a Waianae neighborhood says there nothing unsafe in the materials and lashed out at residents who oppose the dumping.
"They're saying that out of total ignorance of course. If they were aware of what that material was, the would say please let me have more of it," said Robert Clark, president of the Hawaii Kai Marina Community Association.
"This came from the mountains. It came from a natural location that is naturally formed. It doesn't have anything in it."
But local environmental activist Carroll Cox said there's no guaranty that the sludge does not contain oils, grease and pesticides because the trucking company did not file an appropriate stockpiling plan with the city.
"I believe this is the perfect example of an environmental injustice," he said. "They have to breathe this, it's a marine product and its salty," Cox said.
"And who knows the non-point pollution and run-off from the streets that have collected over the years."
On Tuesday, the city said it was citing SER Trucking, which was hired to truck and store the materials, for not having a proper grading permit. The citation, if uncorrected, could lead to fines of up to $150 a day.
News of the dumping generated a strong reaction from the Waianae community.
"Illegal dumping is a huge problem in Waianae. Historically, businesses have come to Waianae and dump, the government and military have come to Waianae to dump," said Pake Salmon of Ka Wai Ola O Waianae, which opposes illegal dumping on the Leeward Coast.
"Businesses come into these communities of color and they dump in our communities."
Waianae resident Stanton Kauhane said the site is next to a park used by hundreds of children each day. It's bordered by a dry stream bed that often floods during the rainy season.
"This goes down to Pokai Bay where our kids play. The ocean is a way of life for us and you have all this materials sooner or later it's going to end up down there," he said.
Alice Greenwood of the Concerned Elders of Waianae put it bluntly: "Enough is enough. Knock it off. Put them in jail. Give them big, big fines."
Despite the threat of city fines, SER Trucking continued to dump the materials at its 19-acre property on Wednesday. SER and Marina officials say they have the proper permits.
SER Trucking is a subcontractor for American Marine, which was hired by the Hawaii Kai marina association for the $5 million dredging project. The dredging project, the first since 1995, involves the removal of about 55,000 cubic yards of material to deepen the Hawaii Kai waterway and make it safe for boating.
The project is about half completed.
Natalie Iwasa, a member of the Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board, says the Marina first approached farmers in Kamilonui Valley about stockpiling the materials but later abandoned the plan.
"That company should take all of that dredging material out of there. It doesn't belong there. I feel badly about what's happened," Iwasa said.
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