Disposal driver will not fight illegal-dumping charge
The hauler is the first to face a felony under a new state law
A driver for a private trash disposal company has decided not to contest charges he dumped a 40-cubic-yard load of concrete and demolition debris outside Wahiawa without a permit.
Henry N. Silva, 39, pleaded no contest yesterday before Circuit Court Judge Karl Sakamoto to one count of disposing of more than 10 cubic yards of solid waste. He was indicted in November, the first to be prosecuted under a new law that went into effect in June 2004 making it a felony to dump more than 10 cubic yards of solid waste.
Silva, a truck driver for the Trash Man, had picked up the container in Haleiwa on Sept. 14, 2004, and was headed up two-lane Kamehameha Highway when he realized the load was very heavy and notified company dispatch.
He was instructed to dump the load on private property where they believed they had permission, until they decided what to do with it, said Eric Seitz, Silva's attorney.
"We support the statute and the purpose for it, and my client and his company are very embarrassed but they immediately took responsibility and didn't deny it," Seitz said.
The container was three-fourths full when Silva dumped its contents onto private land, off Kamehameha Highway opposite Poamoho, belonging to Galbraith Estate. In the past the area has been plagued with illegal dumping and trespassers.
The waste included concrete rubble, plant and tree stumps, and discarded furniture.
Deputy Attorney General Marcus Sierra said Silva should have known the container contained solid waste -- not dirt and rocks, as he informed his employer -- because he checked the load before covering the container with tarp.
Employees of Galbraith Estate discovered the waste and ended up hiring another company to clean it up. The dumped waste was traced to the resident who had hired the Trash Man to dispose of it.
Silva has requested a deferral of his plea, which Seitz expects will be granted at his April 11 sentencing.
Sierra said the public should know that it is illegal to dump solid waste anywhere -- on private or public property -- without a permit, even with the landowner's permission.
It is a petty misdemeanor to dump amounts as small as one cubic yard, not including green waste. The offense is punishable by 30 days in jail and/or fines of up to $25,000.
Dumping 10 cubic yards or more of solid waste is punishable by five years in prison and/or fines of up to $50,000.