EPA awards $200,000 to clean up Kapolei land


POSTED: Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands has been awarded a $200,000 federal grant to help clean up a site in East Kapolei that is adjacent to areas planned for development of affordable housing for native Hawaiians.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said the site and surrounding lands were used to cultivate sugar from around 1890 to 1994. Elevated concentrations of dioxins, furans and other chemicals associated with agricultural pesticides have been found in soil samples, it said. Total cost of the cleanup is estimated at more than $2 million.

The grant was awarded yesterday by Laura Yoshii, the EPA's Pacific Southwest acting regional administrator.

The grant will help expedite the cleanup and redevelopment of the area, Yoshii said, “;providing jobs and creating new vibrant neighborhoods through needed affordable housing for deserving native Hawaiian families.”;

The award is part of an estimated $111.9 million in grants bolstered by funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The grants help communities clean up sites known as brownfields, which could be contaminated by hazardous chemicals or pollutants.

The cleanup site—a pesticide mixing and loading area off Palehua Road—makes up 0.6 acres of the 400-acre redevelopment project.

“;The effort to remediate these lands will take cooperation from everyone and we are looking forward to these lands being productive again,”; department Director Micah Kane said.

Laurence Lau, deputy director for environmental health of the state Department of Health, said restoring the property is a priority.

“;We have a well-designed process to protect future residents and users and look forward to public comment on cleanup alternatives that are now being drafted,”; Lau said.