In the summer of 2010, the Hawaii Department of Health's (DOH) Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response (HEER) Office Site Discovery team discovered historical documents that suggested surface soils in a small residential neighborhood in Kauai may have elevated levels of arsenic and dioxin resulting from pesticides used at the former Kilauea Sugar Mill. DOH completed an extensive, 12 month investigation to characterize the vertical and lateral extent of contamination. Soil testing along Aalona Place showed high levels of arsenic and moderate levels of dioxin in a stormwater drainage ditch area behind a commercial warehouse. Two other adjacent residential properties also had elevated levels of these contaminants. Sampling of neighboring properties show that surface and subsurface soils are below action levels, and do not pose a health risk. HDOH is confident that all source areas have been identified.
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The current risk is low because the soils in the affected residential yards are covered with landscaping or clean soil, and the ditch area is fenced and clearly marked to restrict access. However, to restore full use of the residential properties and to ensure the long term safety and livability of the neighborhood, DOH has determined that cleanup of the site is needed. In April 2012, after close coordination with Kauai County, the State made a formal request to US EPA to conduct a federally funded cleanup action.
US EPA will be conducting the clean up and remediation of this project with DOH closely involved. US EPA is planning to remove contaminated soils from two residential yards and to construct a permanent stormwater swale that will isolate contaminated soils identified on the commercial property. More specifically, The goals of the cleanup are to:
(1) Remove and replace the top two feet of soils in both yards with pre-tested, clean fill to restore full residential use of the affected properties.
(2) Provide a permanent, protective remedy on the adjacent commercial property to manage contaminated soils in place while protecting and rebuilding the existing storm water drainage system.
(3) Coordinate with the HEER office to help property owners and the county safely manage residual contamination that may be left under structures and roadways or in deeper soils that are impractical to excavate.
Removal activities are scheduled to begin In late July and continue through early September.