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Friday, December 17, 1999


Reaction to spill was fast and effective

There has been intensive media coverage of a sulfuric acid incident at Brewer Environmental Services' Barbers Point facility on Thanksgiving Day.

I would like to clarify several misconceptions:

Bullet The facility is a business unit owned and operated by Brewer Environmental Industries, LLC (BEI).

Bullet A team of highly trained supervisors and employees responded within minutes after being alerted by an employee at Chevron, our corporate neighbor at Campbell Industrial Park, at approximately 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 25. This team was the last to leave the site after the Honolulu Fire Department had returned it to BEI's control late Thursday evening.

Bullet The leak occurred from an underground discharge pipe connected to one of our tanks, not three tanks.

Bullet The spilled material was contained within BEI's property and within the designated containment area. The spill did not emit a "huge toxic plume" but rather created steam vapor during the acid neutralization process.

When members of BEI's first response team arrived, they immediately began transferring the material from the tank with the leaking pipe to minimize the spill.

Then they proceeded to use company-provided soda ash and diluted caustic soda to neutralize the released substance.

The containment area itself, and the subsurface of the property, is composed of limestone that will neutralize the acid by turning it into a plaster barrier and thereby preventing it from diffusing into the groundwater.

Coordinated efforts between the HFD and BEI employees resulted in reducing the exposure to personnel so that the cleanup effort could be safely carried out in subsequent days.

BEI continues to cooperate with the state Department of Health to finalize the remediation of this chemical release.

A comprehensive investigation has already commenced to determine how this incident occurred and is made up of a team headed by the vice president of Environmental Services, a stand- alone division of BEI.

In our over 100-year history, BEI has never had a situation of this magnitude. The company will take all measures necessary to prevent this from happening again.

In closing, BEI would like to commend the HFD, Honolulu Police Department, state DOH officials and others on the scene for the important role they took in bringing this under control.

We are a company dedicated to Hawaii's environment and to the safety of our own employees as well as our neighbors.

The company regrets any inconvenience caused to the families of these workers during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Stephen W. Knox
Brewer Environmental Industries, LLC.



"We're going to do everything
we can not to have to raise
property tax rates."

Jeremy Harris

On an announcement that property values on Oahu
have been assessed $3 billion or 3.59 percent lower,
meaning $16 million less in tax revenues next year


"He's very sensitive to the
family of the decedent in this case,
and that's why he exercised his right
to plead no contest today rather
than drag this thing on."

Nelson W.S. Goo

Explaining Tamashiro's plea on a charge of
third-degree negligent homicide in the
traffic death of a 90-year-old woman

Wong had wrong idea about how to run estate

In his Dec. 8 column, Richard Borreca was right when he noted that Dickie Wong's survival skills in the Senate didn't translate well to his political spoils job at Bishop Estate.

What should translate for the rest of us is that survival artists in public office don't serve the public. The self-absorbed consensus system that Wong built in the Senate, never notable for productivity, is now noted for its decadence.

While we're getting rid of Wong, let's chuck the dysfunctional upper house of the Legislature as well. And by that I do mean let's foment revolution next year at the polls.

The only ones who will be remembered with honor in the Bishop Estate's revolution will be those who clearly went beyond the call, i.e. Oswald Stender and Margery Bronster.

We also will forget the petty little functionaries who ousted Bronster, bad-mouthed Stender, and otherwise systematically made themselves graffiti on the wall of history.

Mike Keolomakapuu Pettingill

Police substation doesn't belong on Waikiki Beach

It's not too late to correct the mistake of putting a police substation on some of the most valuable land in the world -- on Waikiki Beach.

Surfboards belong on the beach and are part of the ambience of Waikiki, so it makes sense to restore the surfboard lockers.

See for yourself. The open space and view would do much to enhance the value of Waikiki for citizens and the tourist industry.

Drive down Kalakaua Avenue and enjoy the open space and view now that the old structure has been torn down. Move the HPD substation closer to the action at the centralized location on Kuhio.

Maybe the city and county can even rent space, thereby saving construction expenditures. The concession stand can be replaced by surrounding business.

Fred Hemmings

Kailua Beach access is a safety issue

Kailua Beach access at Kaimoani Place has been an issue for more than 20 years. The public is requesting a right-of-way for more than just convenience.

Besides cultural and recreational purposes, there are medical and environmental concerns. Currently, a response distance is over one-half mile through deep sand via the Kalaheo Avenue access to Castle Point -- too time-consuming for fire or water safety responders with equipment to run.

It is also the furthest downwind point of the bay where any kind of toxic spill along with flotsam or jetsam will accumulate. Regardless of the event, proper access is required for an effective response.

Another exaggerated concern is of drug or alcohol abuse, and social sex at a public right-of-way. Residents insist that preventing public access will bar this problem. This is foolish.

There is another fact that many people are unaware of. The infrastructure to the Kailuana neighborhood was developed in the late 1960s and has been maintained with our tax dollars. Those who live in the Kailuana area say the current public access is adequate.

Yet, rather than using the "adequate" access, the residents created a private access under lock and key.

Someone of authority should explain how some of the residents in Kailuana can dictate who can and who can't have access. There's only one simple reason: for their own selfish convenience.

If communities such as Lanikai or the North Shore can offer multiple access points to the beach, one from the Kailuana area is not unrealistic.

David Komine

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