RAISING A STINK
Carroll's guests are Mr. Leonard Low and his attorney, Mr. Paul Herran. They discuss public health and safety issues with Mr. Low's, and other residents', Individual Wastewater Systems (IWS) installed at the Department of Hawaiian Home Land's Lalamilo community in Kamuela, Hawaii. Lalamilo is a beautiful DHHL community
built a few years ago on the Big Island. An IWS is the septic tank system built on each of the properties. Mr. Low, and at least 17 other residents of the Lalamilo community, have systems installed too close to their homes, and with inadequately sized seepage pits that are much smaller than the law allows. (In a letter dated January, 2012, DOH said, "We are concerned with the sizing of the seepage pit because it doesn't meet chapter 11-62 requirements.")
The systems were originally approved in 2009, but then, after complaints and an inspection by the State Department of Health, approval was revoked because the systems were both inadequate and illegal. Even though notices were sent to DHHL to have the systems relocated and rebuilt to specs, and promises were made, nothing has been done. The DHHL and DOH are working against the people, spending their time making excuses and not taking care of the real problem. Mr. Low moved into his home in 2011. After several years of discussion, he is now suing the DHHL and DOH to get the work done. Among other excuses, in order to get the work done the DHHL says Mr. Low must withdraw his suit, filed in February, 2013, and waive his rights to attorney fees and damages incurred, even though he was told by the state the system was illegal.
It is shocking (or maybe it is business as usual) that two agencies, tasked with working for the benefit of the people, are trying so hard to work against the people and are even breaking the law. This is not how our government is supposed to work. A caller notes, "The government acts as if it's your fault if you
Uncle Joe Tassill, DHHL Commissioner, calls in to say how shocked he is by the situation. Yesterday Carroll visted the area and took in, first hand, the smells emitted by several of the wasterwater systems. He is now asking listeners to contact Governor Abercrombie about the abuse and environmental injustice experienced by the homeowners of Lalamilo.
Molly Waikiki, who is 77 years old, waited 40 years to get her home in Lalamilo. Now she has to live with the smell of sewage in her front yard, and even in her house. She says she is embarrassed when relatives and friends arrive, and she spends most of her time in the back of her house to avoid the smell. She lives in the country
but cannot enjoy fresh country air. After 40 years she has literally ended up in a cesspool.
Link here for Carroll's questions for DHHL, an invitation to be included on today's show, and their response. Although they would not answer the questions, the below documents do provide answers, and are the source of our questons.
Link here to a letter dated 10/21/11 regarding placement of the IWS
Link here to a series of letters from 2011 and 2012 regarding the illegality and replacement of the IWS.
Link here to see the story that aired Sunday night, 3/9, on HawaiiNewsNow
- Follow: Paul Herran, Leonard Low, Molly Waikiki, IWS, Individual Wastewater Systems, Lalamilo Housing, Department of Hawaiian Homelands, DHHL.