KAPAA — Dennis Mendonca got a nasty surprise when he decided to investigate the portable toilets behind the Kapaa Neighborhood Center last week.
He works in the East Kauai Professional Building across from the neighborhood center and was taking his customary walk along the nearby multi-use path when he got curious about the bathrooms.
He had a hunch they were in disrepair, but he wasn’t prepared for the mess inside.
“When I opened the door, the stench assaulted me,” Mendonca said. “The whole place was filthy with soiled with feces and dried-up toilet paper.”
He walks the path often and used the bathrooms when they were initially installed, but eventually stopped using them because they’d gotten too dirty.
Mendonca didn’t specify how long it’d been since he’d been in the portable toilets, but Wednesday the situation was much worse than he expected.
“The situation is deplorable, the oversight of this area is non-existent,” he said. “I have never known them to be particularly clean (but) it was putrid.”
The county’s Department of Parks and Recreation says they’ve canceled the contract with the provider and are looking for other options, estimating that the toilets haven’t been cleaned for about three weeks.
Cleaning the portable toilets isn’t the park staff’s responsibility; the portable toilets are contracted by the company Tyri and cleaning is that company’s responsibility.
“Because of the lack of service, failure to adhere to the terms of the contract, and the lack of response from the vendor, DOPR has ceased paying this vendor,” Rapozo said. “We hope to get a new contractor by the end of September.”
Tyri didn’t return phone calls for an interview from The Garden Island before deadline.
Per the contract, cleanings are set for every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, and the contract specifies Tyri is required to do the cleanings.
Meanwhile, on the South Shore, the county is working on a pipe that would move effluent from the septic system at Salt Pond Beach Park to the Eleele wastewater treatment plant.
“In partnership with the Department of Public Works, the invitation for bid is to be completed and the work to construct a pipe is in process,” Rapozo said Friday.
The Salt Pond bathrooms sprang into the spotlight in the summer of 2018, when some members of the Westside Watershed Council and other citizens wrote a letter to Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. demanding the bathrooms be cleaned and facilities fixed.
Heavy rains in April saturated the leach field, which DOPR is continuing to check, but a shoreline certification must be completed before work can be done on the field.
Rapozo said in July that process could take up to a year to complete.