Hawaii State Health Department issues report


Hawaii State Health Department issues report on cleaning up two vacant commercial lots contaminated by arsenic on the Big Island.

The report suggests removing contaminated soil in the lots near Waiakea Villas in Hilo and pulling it to a landfill, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Sunday.

According to the report, the cleanup would cost $312,825. Removing the contaminated soil could require up to 200 truckloads, said John Peard, remediation project manager at the health department.

The soil is contaminated with arsenic from a former plant that used sugarcane bagasse to create canec, a wall and ceiling-board panel used extensively in Hawaii until the 1970s.

Arsenic was used to make the material resistant to a small, pale soft-bodied insect. The plant dumped hundreds of tons of arsenic into Waiakea Pond, Peard said.

“We did find there could be concern about, at least in a few areas, elevated arsenic along the edge of the pond,” Peard said.

It could be addressed by an arsenic management plan, which Peard is recommending the state Department of Land and Natural Resources conduct.

A prospective buyer interested in a commercial development on the vacant lots was required to pay for the study. It is the fourth study done on the property in the past 15 years, Peard said.

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