WAINIHA — The state is looking into another dumping ground for Kauai’s waste this week after numerous reports and complaints.
The spotlight is on an unencumbered state parcel at Wainiha on Route 560 between mile marker 7 and Alamihi Road, and some are dubbing the area “The Wainiha Landfill.”
It’s the site of 14 abandoned derelict vehicles, household trash and green waste, and has become a home for rats, which are an invasive species in Hawaii.
“A site inspection is planned this week to reassess and become familiar with the conditions of the area,” said Deborah Ward, spokeswoman for the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Kauai Land Division staff is reviewing the case to develop an action plan, Ward said.
Fines for abandoning vehicles on state land can be up to $1,000, and vehicle owners could have to pay towing fees of up to $75 plus $7.50 per mile towed and $25 per day for storage for the first seven days, $20 per day after for storage — if the state can determine the legal owner of the vehicle and track them down.
Vehicles are considered abandoned after being left in the same place on public land for 24 hours.
The first step toward clearing up the pile of junked cars and other trash is to post a sign stating that the activity is unauthorized, which the state has done at the Wainiha site.
The next step is the state’s planned inspection of the site “to formulate a realistic plan of action to resolve this ongoing problem,” Ward said.
Community members want action soon and the Kauai Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation has been getting complaints, as well as requests to take action.
Occasionally Surfrider will spearhead cleanup activities that involve vehicles, but the activity has to fit within their mission, which is to ensure access to clean water for surfing, swimming and playing.
“We’re concerned with oceans and beaches,” said Carl Berg, former chairman of the Kauai Surfrider Chapter.
Berg handed over the chair of Kauai Surfrider position to Barbara Weidner in an election in early 2017.
In January, derelict cars threatened the health of the coast in the Anahola area and Surfrider Kauai paid for the removal of 25 cars that were abandoned in the area in 2016.
“We went into Anahola because the cars were going into the water, that’s why Surfrider decided to get involved,” Berg said. “Surfrider is not the garbage collector for the whole island.”
On Kauai, abandoned cars are usually towed to Puhi Metals Facility for recycling.