Cleanup ordered for illegal dump


POSTED: Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered two men who were arrested at an illegal Waianae dump and the landowner to clean up and remove hazardous substances within a week.





EPA welcomes Tips

        To report alleged environmental violations, call the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Honolulu office at (808) 541-2720 or visit www.epa.gov/compliance on the Internet.



If they don't meet the week deadline, the federal agency will clean up the mess and bill the perpetrators - probably for about $1 million.

“;These crimes are crimes not just in the area but upon the state of Hawaii and the entire island,”; Wayne Nastri, U.S. EPA regional administrator, said yesterday.

Nastri said an ongoing investigation will determine what charges will be brought against Richard Botelho and Dwayne Dano in May, who were arrested after federal agents were tipped off about an illegal dump site on 87-1161 Hakimo Road. Investigators continue to scour the 10-acre site, which contains 55-gallon drums, discarded batteries and antifreeze liquids buried in holes.

There were also numerous burn pits, one of which was near a stream contaminated with chromium and arsenic. The investigation surrounds where the items came from, who was storing things there and who was operating the site.

The pair have already been charged with possessing firearms as convicted felons. Dano has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

This case and a federal indictment of another pair accused of storing hazardous waste are part of Operation E Ola Pono, an aggressive campaign started by U.S. Attorney Ed Kubo to combat environmental violations.

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“;Unfortunately these criminal investigations only solve half the problem,”; Kubo said at a news conference yesterday. “;Unless the pollution is properly removed and disposed of, the danger to our people remains on these properties.”;

In a separate case, Jerome Anches and Stephen Swift have been indicted on charges they violated environmental laws. Swift has also been indicted with mail fraud. Anches allegedly kept a Matson container full of waste on property formerly owned by his company, Martin Warehousing & Distribution, from 2001 to 2005.

Swift later transported the waste to the Kalihi Kai office of his company, RRL Inc., on a public street for 10 days before allegedly transporting it to 85-1535 Haleahi Road in Waianae.

Diligence from residents is needed in reining in environmental violators, said Hawaii-born Granta Nakayama, EPA assistant administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.

He said the EPA this year has prevented 3 billion pounds of pollutants from reaching the environment, more than the past three years combined. The agency has received more than 16,000 tips and complaints this year nationwide.

“;We all know that a polluted environment threatens the tourist industry,”; Nakayama said. “;Any citizen can assist in the battle against environmental violations.”;