April 14, 2004       


Ivan Lui Kwan, Chief Procurement Officer
City and County of Honolulu
Office of the Division of Purchasing
Department of Budget and Fiscal Services
530 S. King St.
Honolulu, HI 96813

Dear Mr. Kwan,

Pursuant to the Hawaii Revised Statute, Sections 103D-304, 103D-305 and 103D-306,  EnviroWatch, Inc. a nonprofit organization based in Mililani, Hawaii, respectfully submits this letter as a formal written protest of the inclusion of Island Recycling Inc. (IRI) in the bidding process of a contract (City and County bid no. 14338) for island-wide trash recycling on Oahu.

In support of this protest EnviroWatch, Inc. offers the following facts:

  1.    A Notice of Violation (No.2001/NOV-8-215) was issued by the City in 2001 for eleven unlawful structures. (Attachment 1).

2.    A Notice of Order (No.2003/NOO-170) was issued by the City in 2003. Substantial civil fines are accruing, but no collection of the full amount has occurred. (Attachment 2)

3.   IRI is operating without a valid Zoning Clearance, which is a prerequisite for a State Solid Waste Management Permit (SWMP). The zoning clearance was issued for a general manufacturing packaging and processing establishment.  A zoning clearance is required for a waste disposal and processing facility, but IRI must first obtain a CUP. (Attachment 3)

4.    The SWMP is valid for Parcel 34 only, but IRI operates on 8 parcels. (Attachment 4)

5.    The illegal toilet (with holding tank) in the illegal office/scale house building is in violation of Department of Health wastewater regulations, which require a septic tank and leach field. (Attachment 5)

6.    There is no NPDES Permit (although the facility generates wastewater from various processing activities, including washing ash off the ash-coated metals from the H-Power facility). IRI was advised in 2001 that a NPDES Permit is required.  (Attachment 6)

7.    On April 6, 2004 the DOH issued a Notice of Apparent Violation (“NAV”), for Discharge of Pollutants to State Waters and Operating without a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System(“NPDES”) Permit. (Attachments 7)

8.    A 2001 letter from the Department of Health advised IRI that hazardous ash-coated metals from H-Power are being processed on the site and precautions for employees’ health should be taken. (Attachment 8)

9.    On December 23, 2003, EnviroWatch, Inc. filed a written complaint with the Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP) regarding the hazardous ash from H-Power, concerns about the facility operating with illegal structures, operating without the proper land use and SMA permits, and potential adverse impacts to the environment. (Attachment 9)

10.    DPP originally approved IRI as a “General Manufacturing, Packaging, and Processing Establishment” under the provisions of the Land Use Ordinance (LUO), based on submittals from IRI.  In response to EnviroWatch Inc’s complaint,  DPP inspectors visited the site in January 2004, and discovered that IRI’s use of the site is actually a much more intensive use.  DPP reassessed the use based on the site visit, and determined that the use is a “Waste Disposal and Processing Facility.” (Attachment 10)

11.    Waste Disposal and Processing Facilities require a Conditional Use Permit (CUP).

EnviroWatch, Inc. filed a complaint in December 23, 2003, stating that a CUP is required.   DPP agreed with EnviroWatch’s assessment and notified IRI in writing that a CUP is required.   To date, no application for a CUP has been submitted to DPP.  (Attachment 10)

12.  A Minor Special Management Area (SMA) Permit (No. 2003/SMA-51) was issued for a “General Manufacturing, Packaging, and Processing Establishment”.   However, IRI actually has a “Waste Disposal and Processing Facility”, which nullifies the Minor SMA Permit, or makes it void/obsolete.  In addition the SMA permit is no longer valid because IRI did not obtain building permits for the illegal structures within the specified time limit imposed as a condition of the approval.

13.    IRI is operating without a valid SMA Permit.

14.    DPP records contain a document, which states that DPP inspectors were told by Jim Nutter of IRI that “it is not cost-effective” for him to separate the materials from the Mililani Curbside Pilot Recycling Project for recycling, and the materials are just taken to the landfill.  Information provided by the City and County Environmental Services Division indicates that the IRI is being paid fifty-five dollars a ton for the processing of materials from the Mililani Curbside Pilot Project.  Why would the City’s Department of Environmental Services now enter into a contract to process materials collected island wide at thirty-five dollars a ton?  There is a photo of the un-separated materials stacked at IRI¹s facility. (Attachment 11)

15.  Island Recycling Inc’s waste disposal and processing facility requires an Environmental Assessment because the facility is on State land. To date no EA has been prepared and submitted.

16. According to DPP records IRI indicated that they have paid no lease rent for four of the parcels on which the facility operates. (Attachment 12)

17.  In light of all of the above facts, and in summary, EnviroWatch, Inc. protests the inclusion of Island Recycling Inc. in the bidding process by the City Department of Environmental Services to a company with:

    a.    No Zoning Clearance;

    b.    No Conditional Use Permit;

    c.    No Special Management Area Permit;

    d.    No National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit;

    e.    A SWMP authorizing the use on only one parcel;

    f.    A Notice of Violation for 11 illegal structures;

    g.    A Notice of Order for civil fines;

    h.    An illegal toilet facility with a holding tank.


EnviroWatch, Inc. protests the participation of IRI in the bidding process and requests an investigation of the bidding and procurement procedures for this contract. 

EnviroWatch, Inc. maintains that there are other companies on Oahu that have all of the proper permits already in place, and do not have violations of building code, zoning code,

  wastewater regulations, and other regulations.  This behavior creates a demoralizing situation for those companies that follow the regulations and obey the law. 

This situation can lead to more illegal dumping, which will further degrade our environment.  In addition, EnviroWatch, Inc. points out that the DPP is complicit in this situation

which allows IRI to continue its operations, day after day, without requiring IRI to comply with the building, zoning, Land Use Ordinance, SMA regulations and environmental laws. 

The SMA Permit is also invalid because IRI did not comply with the conditions of the permit within the specified time limit. IRI has only paid fifty dollars for its’ violations,

while the actual amount of fines exceeds eighteen thousand dollars.  Yet DPP allows IRI

to continue to operate an unauthorized use with outstanding violations and without the necessary permits. How long will this situation be allowed to continue?

Furthermore, DOH records contain documents that show that IRI processed approximately seventy-five hundred tires coated with lead paint from Kaholawe.   However IRI filed a required closure plan that stated; 

”Since this facility does not process any hazardous waste, and all materials purchased at the facility are shipped oversea, there is no potential contaminants. Island Recycling does not produce any product other than nuisance dust”.

It is irresponsible (at best) for the City Department of Environmental Services to allow IRI to participate in the bidding.  Since it has so many outstanding violations and other irregularities.


Your assistance in this matter will be greatly appreciated.


                                                                                            Sincerely Yours,


                                                                                             Carroll E. Cox