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POSTED: Friday, April 03, 2009

Authorities investigate blast report

Police and firefighters investigated an 8:15 p.m. report yesterday of an explosion at 87-380 Heleuma St. in Maili, said fire Capt. Terry Seelig.

A neighbor reported that an explosion was heard earlier in the day, he said.

Two fire companies and a hazardous-materials team were dispatched to the scene.

Officials evacuated homes that were within a 400-yard radius of the house, Seelig said.

Seelig did not have any further details.

A spokesman for the Emergency Medical Services said that its services were not needed.

EPA fines isle firm for pollution

The Environmental Protection Agency has ordered Marisco Ltd., a marine and industrial services company based at Kalaeloa, to correct several violations and to comply with requirements of the Clean Water Act.

The company faces a $37,500-per-day fine per violation if it fails to comply.

The EPA said the company failed to implement water pollution controls outlined in its discharge permit at its main ship repair facility and the “;Lil' Perris”; dry-dock facility.

In December, inspectors found the company failed to have proper storm-water runoff controls and secondary containment for runoff.

Workers were seen hosing down work areas with runoff going directly into the harbor. Concrete from cement mixing was seen overflowing into the harbor, according to a news release. Marisco has not had a valid discharge permit for this facility since October 2007.

At the dry dock, inspectors found the company did not maintain required records and was not properly taking water samples. Officials said the company also allowed sandblast grit to spill around the facility and did not have spill containment for used oil drums.

The EPA is ordering the company to correct all storm-water control issues, submit revised storm-water management plans and stop any pressure-washing until a control plan is approved.

Navy plans to clean up old dumps

The Navy has agreed to clean up several dump sites and an old landfill at Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Pacific in Wahiawa and the Navy Radio Transmitter Facility at Lualualei near the Navy Munitions Command base in Leeward Oahu.

The Environmental Protection Agency, which made the announcement, said preliminary investigations have indicated that no immediate threats currently exist at the sites. The sites are primarily land disposal and landfill areas that are no longer in use and former PCB transformer sites. Polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCB, were used in transformers and capacitors, coolants, lubricants, stabilizing additives in flexible PVC coatings of electrical wiring and electronic components, pesticide extenders, cutting oils, flame retardants, hydraulic fluids, wood floor finishes and paints. PCBs can cause cancer in animals and adversely affect the nervous, immune and endocrine systems in humans.

The Navy will continue investigation and cleanup at both locations, which are on EPA's National Priorities List - also known as the Superfund list.

Space station will grace isle skies

If the weather cooperates, Hawaii residents will be able to spot the International Space Station as it streaks across the sky tonight and tomorrow.

Just after 7:34 p.m. the space station will rise in the northwest and pass just under the North Star and through the Big Dipper before it blinks out in the east about five minutes later.

Tomorrow the space station will rise in the northwest around 8 p.m. and, moving left across the sky, pass through the belt of Orion and then under Sirius, the brightest star in the sky.

A waxing gibbous moon will hang in the sky both nights.

The space station, moving at 17,500 mph at an altitude of 220 miles, picked up some new passengers Saturday from the Soyuz spacecraft.

Obama's sister inks book deal

NEW YORK » President Barack Obama's sister has a book deal, for a children's picture story.

Maya Soetoro-Ng's “;Ladder to the Moon,”; based in part on Obama's mother and other family members, will be published by Candlewick Press at a date not yet determined. According to Candlewick, Soetoro-Ng will pay “;homage to her mother's tradition of storytelling.”;

The late Ann Dunham is mother both to Obama and Soetoro-Ng, who was born in 1970, nine years after the future president. (Obama and Soetoro-Ng have different fathers).

Soetoro-Ng, who teaches at La Pietra-Hawaii School for Girls in Honolulu, campaigned for Obama and spoke at the Democratic National Convention in August.