HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As the state's largest private landowner, Kamehameha Schools prides itself as a good steward of its land and natural resources.
But just several hundred yards from its flagship Kapalama Heights campus, an illegal dump site has been discovered.
Tons of old concrete slabs, green waste, pipes, tires, and an old boiler litter trust lands.
On one side of the property lies parts of an aluminum school bleacher and at another spot, someone has literally tried to bury a kitchen sink in the ground
"A horrendous site. Of all my times looking at landfills and illegal dumpings, this will rank as one of the worst," said environmental activist Carroll Cox.
Along with its sheer size, the dump poses potential risks to two nearby wells that provide drinking water for the public, Cox said.
He added that the dump also contains a mastic-like material that was used in construction decades ago. That material often contained asbestos, he said.
Cox said he checked with the state and found that the school does not have a solid waste permit to operate a landfill.
"You never want to situate a landfill above drinking water wells. Period," he said.
Kamehameha Schools officials said that it tests its drinking water three times a week and that no contamination was found.
But it said it still does not know how the solid waste got there but that it might have been there for decades.
Spokesman Kekoa Paulsen said the grounds crews only recently discovered the dump after clearing away some land to provide better access to the campus's green waste composting station.
"The debris will be removed once it has been inspected for hazardous materials," Paulsen said.
That clean up effort could take months and could cost tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. And if hazardous materials are found, those costs could skyrocket.