State looks at
alleged illegal dumps

The state Department of Health is investigating three allegedly illegal dumpsites of construction waste and possible hazardous materials.

"We received a complaint about Hawaiian Steam Inc. dumping materials at a few locations, and we're investigating those," Lene Ichinotsubo, an engineer with the department's Solid and Hazardous Waste Division, said yesterday.

Ichinotsubo said the locations are Onipaa Ranch, behind Pearl City High School; Wayne's Dairy in Waianae; and Hawaiian Steam's base yard at 96-1100 Waihona St. in Pearl City.

Carroll Cox, president of EnviroWatch, said people familiar with his discovery of illegal dumpsites contacted him more than a month ago with allegations that illegal dumping was going on at the three locations.

Onipaa Ranch, which leases land from the state, has cooperated with the investigation by digging up some construction waste and a solid chemical that might be hazardous, Ichinotsubo said. The ranch has been asked to test unknown materials to find out what they are.

State inspectors have made visits to the other sites, which have not been dug up, Ichinotsubo said. The investigation is continuing, and it is too early to know the outcome, she said.

Onipaa Ranch officials told state inspectors that they contracted for dirt to fill an old waste-water pond, Ichinotsubo said. Apparently, construction debris was dumped and covered with dirt.

"This shows that landowners should be vigilant about the type of materials they request and ensure what they request is what they receive," Ichinotsubo said.

Cox said he lodged complaints with the state. Benson Lee, listed in state records as the agent for Hawaiian Steam, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

In December 2002 the Health Department cited Hawaiian Steam for improperly transporting oil, operating without a used-oil processor permit and not tracking used oil it received. The company faced up to $33,700 in fines.


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