No Ordnance at the Dump

Molokai landfill cleared of munitions debris

By Léo Azambuja

The Molokai landfill got its own clean up this year. As of Dec. 18, the last remnants of old munitions debris was packed in containers and shipped away, according to a press release by Senator Daniel K. Inouye.

“To our knowledge, everything was properly inspected and removed from the site,” said Mike Souza, County Landfill Worksite Supervisor. “I think everything is fairly secure at this point.”

When old munitions were first discovered in the Molokai landfill four months ago, Maui Mayor Charmaine Tavares asked Senator Inouye for help providing federal assistance to remove ordnance from the dump.

According to the senator, after American Technologies, Inc. was awarded a federal contract in September, approximately 670 pieces of munitions debris were found, none of which contained explosives.

“The successful cleanup means the Molokai landfill is safe; it does not pose a threat to the community,” Inouye said.

“I wish to thank Maui County, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the contractor, American Technologies, Inc., which is certified by the Enviromnental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, for a job well done,” Inouye said.

However, not everyone was happy with the outcome. Environmental watchdog Carroll Cox said that the hiring of American Technologies Inc. is an “insult to taxpayers.” In early 2004 the company was hired by the army to clean up unexploded ordnance in Papohaku Ranchlands, where the military conducted exercises.

In March 2004 American Technologies hired Boswell Trucking, now Makoa Trucking, to carry all the “scrap and/or explosive contaminated metal from Papohaku Ranchland Bombing target.” All of the material was dumped at the Molokai landfill, even though the dump did not have a permit to accept or process hazardous waste.

Cox said that now the Senator is glowing, bragging that he did such a great job in cleaning up the dump. However, American Technologies, the same company that was responsible for dumping the ordnance at the landfill, was now paid $185,000 to clean up the mess.

Hawaiian State law says that “fines may be levied on the generator of the waste, even if they hired someone else to dispose of the waste.”

“Shame on you,” Cox said he told Inouye. “Where were you when they were dumping all that ordnance there?”


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.