Like many urban areas across the country, soil and groundwater along the proposed rail line have residual contamination from historic petroleum pipelines and other industrial activities. State and federal law holds polluters, property owners and developers responsible for ensuring that contamination does not harm human health or the environment. If not managed safely, excavation of contaminated soils and redevelopment of contaminated properties can put construction workers, future property users and local communities at risk. The Honolulu Rail Transit Project is a complex project with numerous subcontractors performing multiple tasks simultaneously. Many of these tasks require the movement of large volumes of soil and/or groundwater, some of which will be generated within these areas of residual contamination.
Invasive Honolulu Rail Transit Project activities include, but are not limited to the following:
• Geotechnical boring,
• Exploratory trenching for archaeological investigation,
• Sewer jacketing, and
• Utility and tree relocation
Additional invasive work will occur during the construction of:
• Method shafts and/or test shafts,
• Production shafts,
• Twenty one train stations,
• Four park and ride facilities,
• Four new transit centers, and
• One maintenance and storage facility
During regulatory oversight of a typical project, fewer concurrent activities take place within a property boundary, and the project generates much less soil and groundwater. In most circumstances, responsible parties investigate single parcels under state oversight to establish whether contamination is present, and take cleanup actions as needed. From the beginning, it was clear a different approach would be needed for the 20-mile long rail project, traveling atop historic fuel pipeline corridors, like Kamehameha and Nimitz Highways, and encompassing hundreds of different properties and involving multiple property owners. Regulatory oversight of the Honolulu Rail Transit Project has been ongoing since October 2011 and will continue throughout the life of the project. The HEER Office has been working with the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) to help them identify properties with contamination or potential contamination within or near the 20-mile rail line and proactively manage all encountered and/or generated media. The Solid and Hazardous Waste Branch (SHWB) has worked closely with the HEER Office and HART to ensure soil and waste materials are managed safely and in accordance with the law. Both branches have encouraged HART to develop a Programmatic Environmental Hazard Evaluation (EHE) and Environmental Hazard Management Plan (EHMP), and to do pre-construction site characterizations at several key locations. Links to key Honolulu Rail Transit Project documents are embedded in the text below.