ROD THOMPSON / RTHOMPSON@STARBULLETIN.COM
Big Island resident Lori Enriquez looks over trash dumped along "Rubbish Dump Road" south of Hilo. The trash is supposed to go into compactor-trailers at a nearby transfer station for later removal to the Hilo landfill.
Garbage woes pile up for residents near Hilo
The county is trying to fix the situation by upgrading stations
PAHOA, Hawaii » Community leaders south of Hilo say the closing of a trash transfer station at night is causing increased illegal dumping of trash.
Rene Siracusa and Lori Enriquez of Kaohe Homesteads near Pahoa showed the Star-Bulletin this week piles of trash extending hundreds of feet along a one-lane, backwoods street commonly called "Rubbish Dump Road."
The piles included refrigerators, washing machines, armchairs, mattresses, even a school desk. Bags of household trash get dumped, then torn open by mongooses and wild pigs, Enriquez said.
The trash multiplied when the county began closing the nearby Pahoa Transfer Station at night starting July 31, Enriquez said.
The county Department of Public Works cleaned up the mess along Rubbish Dump Road once, but the Environmental Management Department charged Public Works a $2,000 tipping fee to drop the junk at the Hilo landfill, Enriquez said.
"Every time they do something to make it harder to do the right thing, it gets worse and worse," said Rene Siracusa, of Malama O Puna.
Lon Brown of the Pahoa Weed and Seed program called the dumping a "continuing abomination."
County Environmental Management Director Barbara Bell said some of the county's actions, like closing the area's only transfer station at night, are because of state health regulations and to prevent vandalism and the dumping of toxic waste.
The $2,000 tipping fee was a mistake that has been corrected, Bell said.
The county has a five-year program to upgrade transfer stations around the island, she said. A new area just opened for the drop-off of large bulky items like refrigerators.
"It is getting worse, but it's going to get better eventually," she said.
Enriquez's husband, Benny, said he tried to dump rusty wire at the transfer station, but a worker stopped him, telling him to dump the wire beside the road.
Bell doubted that a worker told Benny Enriquez to dump trash by the road. But, she added, "I'd like to get the name of that attendant."