March 19, 2017, Honolulu, Hawaii.
Carroll's guest is Bridget Hammerquist, President of Friends of Maha'ulepu. We have talked with Friends of Maha'ulepu (FOM) many times about their opposition to the proposed industrial dairy on the Island of Kauai. This week Carroll and FOM went to O'okala, on the Hamakua Coast of the Big Island of Hawaii to visit with community members living below
the Big Island Dairy (BID), and see firsthand what the situation is for their community. They attended a meeting with community members and the manager of the dairy, Mr. Brad Duff, where FOM was warned about the issues they will face if the dairy is allowed to be built on Kauai.
The Big Island Dairy runs a similar operation to the one proposed for Kauai. Community members talked about the smell, the water, the runoff, the floods, and the pollution caused by the dairy. FOM learned community members complained many times, and samples of the water have been taken, but nothing has been done. Some members of the community report the Hawaii
Department of Health documented the problems, but they feel nothing is being done. The DOH noted brown water flowing from the dairy into a stream. They reported a strong smell of manure. They also noted the two effluent ponds were full, noted one was overflowing, and said the dairy needed to build another one. Runoff from the dairy flows into a gulch and, from there, into the ocean. FOM recently had water samples taken
from the area that were tested by a DOH approved lab. The samples showed extremely high counts of bacteria. Even so, at the meeting Mr. Duff told the community not to go into the gulch because it is dangerous for other reasons, such as pigs and flash floods. (Note: Members of the O'okla report cow carcasses were found in the gulch.) The community is concerned that Duff did not know specifically how the waste water was getting into the stream and the community. However,
inspection reports show how the waste water is getting into the streams.
More disturbing, at the meeting FOM and the community learned an organization the community thought was regulatory was only set up to help farmers. Any documents produced would not be shared with the public. Not only that, the federal government does not have regulatory authority over the farmers to make sure they adhere to the conservation
plans. It should also be noted, the state owns the land and leases it to the dairy.
Another thing FOM and the community learned at the meeting, the dairy manager proudly told the community they restored and cleaned the culverts left over from the sugarcane operation after the community complained about floodwater inundating the area with fecal matter. But, and this is a big but, sugarcane runoff is not the same as runoff full of manure from the dairy, and the culverts will
only direct more of the floodwater, and everyday runoff, into the ocean. Bridget tells us the Kauai dairy is also planning to renew their sugarcane culverts, and FOM is very concerned.
At the dairy Carroll and FOM observed manure water from the effluent pond being sprayed into the air to "fertilize" a portion of a field that is not growing anything. The spray was drifting throughout the area, and the "water" was running off the field. This does not look good. Link here to video of sprayer in action.
Listen as Carroll, Bridget and callers discuss more of the issues, including illnesses that community members say are caused by activities at the dairy including its handling of waste water. They are concerned about how the problems are being handled by the Hawaii Department of Health and Department of Agriculture, and make suggestions for what to do. It
is time to talk directly to Governor Ige and let him know what is going on. Carroll believes, based on what is going on with the dairies, the Governor should ask Scott Enright, Chairman of the Department of Agriculture, to resign, or Enright should volunteer to resign.
Link here to the 2014 Inspection Report.
Link here to the 2016 Inspection Report.
Link here to audio of Brad Duff speaking at the O'okala Community Meeting, March 14, 2017.
For more information and pictures, visit the Friends of Maha'ulepu website at www.friendsofmahaulepu.org
Nice if you do not live here!