Kokua Line
June Watanabe

Monday, May 23, 2005

Rubbish fires at home
not legal on Oahu

Question: Is it legal to burn yard/garden trash in your back yard on Oahu? I'm guessing that it's not legal, but wanted to know for sure before I approach my neighbor.

Answer: No, it is not legal on Oahu.

The burning of leaves, grass, weeds, paper, wood that has not been painted with lead paint or treated with insecticides/pesticides, etc., is allowed in all counties, with the exception of Oahu, according to Jill Stensrud, of the state Department of Health's Clean Air Branch.

That's because the state specifically prohibits such fires in any county with a population greater than 500,000. Oahu is the only county with that population.

Stensrud said there is a fine of up to $10,000 per day for violations.

In the other counties, people may burn allowable materials within these restrictions: not exceeding four family units and 25 pounds per day, per unit; not within 50 feet of any habitable building; supervised by an adult; only between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.; in accordance of the rules of other fire control agencies; and subject to specific "no-burn" periods.

Meanwhile, on Oahu, open burning is allowed only by approval of the director of health or for specific situations, such as the cooking of food -- e.g., "Huli Huli chicken" and imu fires -- or bathing purposes, such as the furo (Japanese bath), the latter "provided that plastics, used oil and wood which has been painted with lead paint or treated with insecticides or pesticides are not being used as fuel for these fires."

Health officials suggest contacting the Clean Air Branch at 586-4200 or the fire department before burning anything.

You can also contact the Clean Air Branch for general information or to report a burning.

Q: I have advertised with Verizon Yellow Pages for 25 years. But when I worked with someone new last year, I was just handed an ad. I said I didn't want it, so we worked out a new one. Normally, they would send me a final copy and I would OK it, but nothing came back to me for approval. When the directory came out, it had the ad I specifically said I didn't want. Now I'm being charged a lot of money every month for it and no one is returning my numerous calls. Can you help?

A: We first pitched your complaint to a Verizon spokeswoman on the mainland, who said she was working on resolving your problem.

Subsequently, when Verizon Hawaii became Hawaiian Telcom, the complaint was given to another person to follow up.

Last week, a spokeswoman for Hawaiian Telcom told us the matter had been resolved satisfactorily, which you confirmed.

The good news for customers is that Hawaiian Telcom now has a local customer service office so you don't have to call the mainland with questions, the spokeswoman said.

Customers can now call at 591-7500 and talk to local representatives "who are focused on serving this market," she said.


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