Kauai County to begin debris cleanup after dam break
Federal funds aid the project to remove hazardous waste
KILAUEA, Kauai » Five months after the Ka Loko dam breach sent millions of gallons of water, waste and debris down Wailapa Steam, killing seven people, Kauai Mayor Bryan Baptiste announced yesterday the beginning of hazardous-waste removal in the area.
The hang-ups, county officials said, were finding the money to pay for the cleanup and getting right-of-entry forms from all the affected landowners.
Baptiste said almost 20 of the entry forms have been completed and notarized, with a few in the process of being completed. Also, the county just found out that debris removal work qualifies for funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Kauai's Hurst R. Excavation will be in charge of the cleanup, which includes removing cars, vehicle parts, and propane and acetylene tanks along Wailapa Stream.
"We need to be sure these items don't contain any oil or other flammable liquids before recycling them," said Troy Tanigawa, program administrator for the county's Solid Waste Division.
The hazardous-waste portion of the cleanup is expected to cost $33,000 and take a couple of weeks, Tanigawa said, but it could take longer if more hazardous waste is discovered in the area.
Local residents have complained since the March 14 break that hazardous debris likely washed into Kilauea River, which joins with Wailapa to reach the ocean.
"If that needs to be done, (residents) need to speak to" the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, which is responsible for the river, the mayor said.
The next step would be green waste and woody debris removal, which is expected to cost the bulk of the $1.5 million in state and FEMA funds allocated for the project.
"Our target completion date for the entire cleanup is the end of October," Tanigawa said.