Leeward coast residents vent on illegal sludge dumping

Published: Sep. 19, 2013 at 3:32 AM HST|Updated: Sep. 19, 2013 at 9:34 AM HST
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WAIANAE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - About a hundred people talked and listened at a special meeting of the Waianae Coast Neighborhood Board Thursday night. Many of those who gathered at the Waianae District Park had a lot to say about sludge being illegally dumped in their neighborhood.

The meeting was prompted by revelations that the sludge that spilled on the H-1 Freeway in Aiea on Aug. 31 was being taken by SER Trucking to Waianae, like many other truckloads before it.

"Until this sludge thing got dumped on the freeway, I had no idea this was going on in my back yard," said Waianae resident Suzanne Watanabe. "And I'm wondering how long has this been going on and how much sludge is already there?"

"What they're committing over here is murder to our lands, worst of all, they're putting it next to a live stream," said Alice Greenwood, another Waianae resident. "No wonder the sharks are getting angry out there."

"It's not right," said Polly "Granny" Grace. "And look where they dump them, right in the back of Hawaiian Homes. Isn't that terrible? Why they do things like that? Don't they know it's an environmental health hazard?"

According to the permits that were issued, sludge that was dredged from the Hawaii Kai Marina was supposed to go to five sites, all of them in the Hawaii Kai area.

Residents were angry that the waste was being trucked to their neighborhood, and demanded that those responsible be punished.

"They went put in all the necessary permits, and they didn't abide by their permits" said Greenwood. "So they supposed to be fined from the time they was dumped there. Not because they got found out."

A few at the gathering also expressed frustration at remarks made by Hawaii Kai Marine Community Association president Robert Clarke, who on Sept. 4 responded to criticism from Waianae area residents: ""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."

"The reason why I cam out tonight was when Robert Clarke said that we are ignorant and we need to be educated, and I said excuse me, that is just downright rude," said Waianae resident Maralyn Kurshals. "That is not acceptable."

Neighborhood board chairwoman Johnnie-Mae Perry had intended to have a panel that as supposed to include representatives from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the state Health Department and the state Office of Environmental Quality Control. Of that group, only DLNR chairman William Aila attended.

"Right now I'm talking with attorneys and they will give me an assessment on whether or not the misrepresentation of information on the permit is enough for us to take some action," he said.

Aila also told the audience to write the agencies that had been invited, including the DLNR, about the illegal dumping.

The Waianae Coast Neighborhood Board is scheduled to discuss the issue again at its next regular meeting Oct. 1.

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