A brush fire in Lualualei Valley April 24 scorched about five acres of land, but it's the illegal dumping revealed by the fire that has angered Leeward Coast residents. The area has long been a magnet for individuals and businesses looking to bypass tipping fees at two nearby landfills.
"It's because they trying to get away from paying the price," said Waianae resident Alice Greenwood. "That's the No. 1 issue."
The overgrown lot near Puhawai and Puuhulu roads were the fire broke out was littered with old tires, car parts and industrial cement.
The act of littering can net offenders fines of $50 to $1,000, but local residents say catching someone in the act is nearly impossible. Most of the dumping on the Leeward Coast takes place under the cover of darkness.
"There are times in the evening when you hear a backhoe reversing and moving, and so you hear things and you start to think, 'Where is that coming from,'" said Waianae resident Kapua Keliikoa-Kamai.
Last August Waianae Valley residents were outraged when it was discovered sludge from Hawaii Kai Marina had been dumped at a lot near Kaneaki Street and Waianae Valley Road owned by Sandra Silva.
The city's Department of Planning and Permitting cited Silva for grading 313 cubic yards of sludge without a permit. Silva also owns SER Trucking, which was hired by the Hawaii Kai Marina Community Association to dispose of the sludge.
To date Silva has been fined $21,450 by DPP, but has only paid an initial $150 penalty.
"We're saying enough is enough, but we need the politicians to kind of help us out here and we need some of the laws that are already there to have some teeth," said Lualualei Valley resident Sophie Flores. "These people are taking advantage of this whole system."
That's why Leeward Coast residents are behind an effort by Councilwoman Kymberly Pine to increase fines for illegal stockpiling from $1,000 per day to $5,000 per day. Pine also wants to force those responsible for illegal dumping to clean it up, and make it illegal to place hazardous materials on farm land.
"I think we've really taken for granted our beautiful land and the empty land that's out there," Pine told KITV4. "We really need to be stewards of the land and protect (it), especially the vacant land that is being used for illegal dumping."
Waianae Valley resident Kimo Ayau has seen how illegal dumping has taken a toll on the land as well as surrounding communities.
"Before when I was younger, you could go swimming in the creeks," he said. "Now you can't even swim in the creeks because the water is so dirty."
West side residents hope new focus on illegal dumping spurs change
'We're saying enough is enough, but we need the politicians to kind of help us out here,' says Lualualei Valley resident Sophie FloresUPDATED 10:14 PM HST May 09, 2014
A brush fire in Lualualei Valley April 24 scorched about five acres of land, but it's the illegal dumping revealed by the fire that has angered Leeward Coast residents. The area has long been a magnet for individuals and businesses looking to bypass tipping fees at two nearby landfills.Recommended