From Councilmember Kym Pine
Aloha, September 27, 2013
As I approach my tenth month representing the residents of District 1, I continue to strive to make government accessible and responsive to our growing communities. Yesterday’s public hearing in my Intergovernmental Affairs and Human Services Committee emphasizes just how important this can be.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser ran an excellent article this morning, highlighting yesterday’s public hearing where representatives from the city Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP), the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and Department of Health, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) came together to detail how we are working together to address the illegally dumped sludge in our Leeward Coast communities.
The issue first came to light last month when constituents contacted my office, and on August 19th we brought the issue to the Administration. Following our report, DPP investigators visited the site in Wai‘anae and found that the owners did not have the proper grading permits to receive the sludge. Eleven days after the visit, sludge spilled on to the H-1 freeway as it was in transit to the Waianae dumping site. I am deeply concerned that despite the warning received, illegal dumping continued.
The landowner’s failure to stop dumping the sludge on their property resulted in a city Notice of Violation, and according to DPP Deputy Director, Art Challacombe, the city will not be issuing a grading permit without approval from the Army Corps and DLNR.
However, approval does not seem likely as representatives from the Army Corps and DLNR are conducting investigations into the permit violations and illegal dumping. The Army Corps permit only allowed the sludge to be dumped in four sites in Hawai‘i Kai or in an offshore EPA-designated deep water disposal site off south O‘ahu. These same sites were identified in DLNR-approved documents as well, and the failure to abide by the permits has brought the project to a grinding halt.
Photo Credit: Aina Arts Photography
With the project on hold, a representative from the Department of Health’s Clean Water Branch expressed concern that the sludge deposits could affect water quality and recommended that the state Solid and Hazardous Waste Program be contacted to collect samples and test the sludge for contaminants.
YouTube - Marina Sludge in Wai‘anae Hearing
Yesterday’s hearing was a step forward in this cooperative multi-agency effort to bring justice and improve communication to prevent illegal dumping in our communities and throughout O‘ahu. In case you missed it, you can read the Star-Advertiser’s story here, or watch the hearing in its entirety by following this link.