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New law to fine bulky-item violators awaits rules

By June Watanabe

LAST UPDATED: 10:13 a.m. HST, Jul 22, 2011

Question: A neighbor placed a large leather couch at curbside a day or two after the bulky-item pickup truck came through our area. After a few days I placed a set of garbage pickup rules in this resident’s mailbox hoping the couch would be returned to the owner’s property. When no action was taken, I called the city complaint office, which put me in touch with the Refuse Division. I said the city should issue a citation and require the couch to be removed. Nothing happened; the couch remained curbside for a full month until the next pickup. Is the new ordinance being enforced, and what is the contact for a complaint?

Answer: Although the new city ordinance subjecting property owners to fines for putting out their bulky items out too early took effect in January, it is not being enforced.

That’s because the city hasn’t finalized administrative rules regarding the fines and appeals process.

It’s not known when the rules will be put in place, Markus Owens, spokesman for the city Department of Environmental Services, told us this week. Once finalized, the rules need to be approved by the City Council. Once that happens, details will be announced.

Question: Recently a neighbor sold and vacated her home. Before leaving she put more than 50 bulky items out, lining the front of her property. Isn’t there some limit on how many bulky items a person can put out?

Answer: Property owners are restricted to putting out one cubic yard of furniture, mattresses, bed frame or box springs, rolled up and fastened carpeting, appliances and minor home repair and remodeling materials.

However, until administrative rules are in place (see above), the public should notify the police “for illegal dumping as they currently have enforcement powers,” said Markus Owens, spokesman for the Department of Environmental Services.

Question: My family frequents the tennis courts at Central Oahu Regional Park and has noticed the mosquito problem has gotten worse. Also, the grounds seem to have become overgrown. Can you help?

Answer: Yours is the second complaint we’ve received about swarming mosquitos at the park’s tennis courts.

However, Pingjun Yang, an entomologist with the state Department of Health, checked the tennis court area last week and did not find any mosquito-breeding sources or “mosquito activities” at other locations in the park.

He noted the Asia tiger mosquito is a common day-biting species in Hawaii, and it might have had breeding sites in the park earlier this year, or adults might have flown in from surrounding areas.

“This species can fly about 200 yards and live several weeks,” Yang said.

However, the Asia tiger mosquito population is much smaller than night-biting mosquitos, and they are not known to swarm, he said.

“Perhaps people (are being) bitten by the night-biting mosquitoes since they can fly several miles from their breeding sites,” he said. They are active from dusk to dawn.

Yang explained that there are two species of night-biting mosquitoes in Hawaii: the Southern house mosquito and the floodwater mosquito.

Neither of these two species transmits dengue fever. Those mosquitoes do swarm for mating, but most are males, who do not bite, he said.

(The Asia tiger mosquito is a potential dengue virus carrier, though not as much as the yellow fever mosquito. “In Hawaii the Asia tiger mosquito occurs on every major island, and the yellow fever mosquito (is) only found in some locations on the Big Island,” Yang said.)

In the past, the Department of Health’s Vector Control Branch routinely treated night-biting mosquito breeding sites, such as ground pools or ditches.

“But, since the branch was eliminated, nobody checks these breeding sites,” Yang said. “Therefore, it is not surprising that there are more mosquitoes in the wild and we have more chance to get bitten.”

He suggests people who will be outdoors at night, from dusk to dawn, wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and/or apply insect repellant.

Write to “Kokua Line” at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email

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