- The Hawaii County Council has authorized $6 million in funding to excavate soil containing lead and transport it to the West Hawaii Sanitary Landfill.
- The County reports that soil on the property where Kealakehe Metal Salvage ran was contaminated with lead concentrations above Hawaii’s environmental action levels, detected during preliminary sampling in 2010.
- This month a draft Environmental Assessment and Anticipated Finding of No Significant Impact was posted for the planned remediation and facility closure.
While the Kealakehe Metal Salvage Facility is no longer in use, there is concern about what has been left behind–potentially dangerous waste that extends onto the adjacent Queen Lili‘uokalani Trust property. Improperly managed lead and other wastes from metals is a serious deal to state environmental agencies as these practices pose clear public health and environmental threats, and may still do so long after the facility shuts down.
Hawaii County is obligated to manage the closure and remediation process, although it’s difficult to say exactly when the project will move forward. During a public testimony, Kona’s Cliff Kopp argued that the municipality does not have the permits nor was a required environmental assessment done for it to manage the project, although Hawaii County Environmental Management Director Bobby Jean Leithead Todd denied the claim, according to Big Island Video News.
Meanwhile, the agency has written a draft environmental assessment stating,"The lead-contaminated soil that remains on the subject property presents a potential hazard by direct contact and must be addressed."
The letter describes the proposed plan to dispose of nonrecyclable waste and contaminated soils off site – as anticipated to "adequately [manage] hazards ... practical to implement, and will allow for future use of the subject property."