Wednesday, March 26, 2003

A worker sprayed water yesterday to help control dust as material was excavated at the site of the old Waipahu Incinerator.

Waipahu dump
yields 40 tons

An environmental group says it
does not trust city information
on toxins at the site

By Diana Leone

At least 40 tons of crushed appliances were scooped out of their shallow burial places yesterday as the city continued cleanup of its troubled Waipahu Incinerator site.

City & County of Honolulu

"It went well, without a hitch," said Frank Doyle, the city's acting director of Environmental Services.

Five or six loads of 8 tons each were removed yesterday, Doyle said.

Workers for contractor Richard Lee are using an excavator and bulldozers to pull the items out. City workers are driving filled containers to Hawaii Metal Recycling, where the appliances will be shredded. The work, which is being monitored by the state Department of Health's Solid and Hazardous Waste Branch, is expected to continue until Friday.

In related developments:

>> A hill of 6,200 empty and obsolete propane tanks, which the city had stored at the Waipahu site, were removed over the weekend by Propane Man. The city paid $84,000, or $13.50 per tank, for the work, Doyle said.

>> Plastic tape with the word "caution" printed on it now cordons off the area where the incinerator's chimneys used to stand after testing revealed hazardous levels of arsenic, cadmium, chromium and lead.

>> City refuse workers at the Waipahu Incinerator confirmed that some of them have been subpoenaed by the state Attorney General's Office in its investigation of the situation.

Solid and Hazardous Waste Branch Chief Steve Chang said his agency's investigation is continuing and that it is sharing all information with the Attorney General's Office.

Despite the apparent progress, "I don't trust what's going on," said Enviro Watch President Carroll Cox, whose report on the illegal dumping at the Waipahu site in late February triggered the state's investigation.

"I think everybody's just rushing to put a good face on a bad subject. I am not satisfied at all," Cox said yesterday.

He asked why results of soil tests around the incinerator conducted in December had not been released to the public. The tests showed unacceptable levels of hazardous waste.

"There are some very serious toxins there," Cox insisted. "That entire area should be closed. We don't know where they dumped all the ashes" from the incinerator, which stopped operating in 1994.

City & County of Honolulu
Enviro Watch

E-mail to City Desk


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