February 1, 2002 DOH #02-06
Contact: Grace Simmons
The Department of Health (DOH) has filed a complaint and compliance
order against the County of Kauai – Department of Public Works
(DPW), for violations of the state’s hazardous waste rules at its
Hanapepe transfer facility located at 4380 Lele Road, Hanapepe, Hawaii.
Kauai-DPW faces a penalty of $31,600.
DOH cited DPW for disposal of hazardous waste without a permit. In
response to a citizen’s complaint, the DOH conducted an
inspection at the facility on May 8, 2001. During the inspection, Kauai
DPW confirmed that County personnel buried approximately 20 lead acid
batteries in a vacant lot across the street from the transfer
Gary Gill, Deputy Director for Environmental Health said, "This
unfortunate and reckless incident indicates that Kauai County must do
more to train and supervise its public works employees."
One week after burying the hazardous waste, the County then dug up
the batteries and other non-hazardous wastes and sent the materials for
proper reclamation and disposal.
Lead acid batteries (used in cars and other vehicles) are hazardous
and State law prohibits their disposal. The lead, lead compounds and
acid contained in the batteries are harmful to both humans and the
environment. Exposure to these materials through broken or cracked
batteries poses a risk to human and environmental health.
Although the County transfer facility is authorized to collect lead
acid batteries from homeowners, they encourage residents to take their
old car batteries to an authorized dealer that can ship them for
State law requires battery retailers to accept a used lead acid
battery for recycling upon the sale of a new battery. Many battery
retailers will also accept used automotive batteries for recycling at
no charge and without the need to purchase a new one.
Kauai DPW has 20 days to respond to the order.
# # #