Rain dislodges medical waste

Needles and vials foul beaches after storm water hits a landfill, leading a state official to say it “should never have happened”

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jan 15, 2011

Craig Kojima, Photographer from Star Advertiser
A worker filled trash bags yesterday as teams hauled away debris — including medical waste — that flowed onto the Ko Olina Resort from the Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill after this week’s rain.
Roger and Colleen Mehrer surveyed the muddy water at Ko Olina and watched as workers hauled away plastic bags of trash that had made its way from Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill above Farrington Highway.

The part-time Ko Olina residents did not see what was inside the bags, but they had read in yesterday’s Star-Advertiser about the medical waste that had washed ashore at the West Oahu resort’s lagoons and elsewhere along the Leeward Coast.

“How can medical supplies wash from the dump all the way down here?” Roger Mehrer said. “That’s what surprised me.”

Gary Gill, state deputy health director for environmental health, said, “Obviously, this situation should never have happened.”

Contributed by Star Advertiser and Columnist Gordon Pang.

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