EXCLUSIVE: State fines two companies $40K for illegal dumping
WAHIAWA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state Health Department has fined two companies nearly $40,000 for illegal dumping in former pineapple field in Whitmore Village.
One of those companies, Island Recycling, was fined another $30,000 for improper storage in its Kapolei yard of more than 100 tons of ash and metal from the city's H-Power waste-to-energy plant.
"This is truly an open dump, one of the largest I've ever seen," said environmental activist Carroll Cox.
"It appears as if they attempted to use every square inch to do something illegal."
Much of the illegally dumped trash actually came from the state and the city.
Glad's Landscaping and Tree Trimming, which was fined $29,000 by the Health Department, was hired by the state Land Department to haul away dredging debris from the Ala Wai back in 2010.
The company was supposed to take the dredged material to a commercial landfill in Nanakuli, which would have cost Glad's thousands of dollars in dumping fees. Instead, a lot of the trash wound up in the field in Whitmore.
"Well they pocketed the tipping fee and then they dumped it up here," said Cox.
Glad's president denies any wrongdoing.
"Everything was approved and they signed off with it and all of a sudden a year later, I get a bill for $29,000," said Silivenusi Manufekai, Glad's president.
"No, I didn't pay that, I don't have money to pay for that."
Glad's Landscaping formerly leased 145 acres of former farm land in Whitmore from Dole Food Co. Under its state permit, the company is only allowed to store about 3,000 tons of green waste on six acres. But the actual amounts far exceeded that and much of it wasn't green.
The state said its inspectors found piles of Styrofoam, plastic, rubber slippers, lumber and carpet, apparently from the Ala Wai when it looked at the property in 2012.
They also found a pile of ash and rusted metal that had been taken there by Island Recycling from the city's HPower plant. Island Recycling said it brought the material there to test a screening device that could separate the HPower ash from the metal, which it sells.
"That is really of grave concern because of the hazardous materials that are found in there," said Cox.
Island Recycling, however, said that none of the material is toxic and that it plans to contest the state's fine.
Cox, who accompanied state Health Department officials when they inspected the property in 2012, said the dumping involved massive amounts.
According to the state, Glad's filled a 50-foot wide, 35-foot deep ravine with used asphalt, wood and concrete.
The state said the ravine is actually a tributary to the Poamoho Stream and that the dumping constitutes an illegal discharge into a stream.
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