Technical Guidance and Fact Sheets

The Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response (HEER) Office of the Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH) produces technical guidance documents for the assessment and cleanup of contaminated sites, and fact sheets and brochures provide an overview on important HEER Office topics. Check back regularly for updates and additions to this information. Technical reports and memorandums related to the Technical Guidance Manual are also posted on this page.

Primary HEER Guidance Documents

HEER Guidance With Separate Web Pages

Each of the technical guidance documents described below is hosted on a separate webpage which can be accessed using the links provided.

  • HEER Office Technical Guidance Manual (TGM) – This page provides links the HEER Office TGM. The TGM provides in-depth guidance on environmental assessment and cleanup of contaminated sites. TGM-related technical reports and memorandums are also posted on this webpage.
  • Environmental Hazard Evaluation (EHE) Guidance with Environmental Action Levels (EAL) – This page provides links to HDOH EHE/EAL related guidance documents. The EHE Guidance and associated EALs can be used to expedite the identification of potential hazards at sites with contaminated soil and groundwater as well as assist in the cleanup and redevelopment of these properties. A link to the Tropical Pacific edition of the EHE guidance is also provided.
  • Cleanup of Methamphetamine Labs – This page provides technical guidance and related information for decontamination and cleanup of illegal clandestine laboratory methamphetamine manufacturing sites.
  • Soil Arsenic Guidance and Information – This page provides information on arsenic in Hawaiian soils. Widespread use of arsenic-based herbicides by former sugar plantations throughout the islands between 1915 and 1950, as well as some other historic uses of arsenic compounds, has resulted in some areas with elevated arsenic in soil. HEER Office reports on arsenic testing and guidance on evaluation of soil arsenic residues can be accessed from this site. Additional detailed information on topics ranging from bioaccessibility of arsenic to remediation options will be added to this page in the future.
  • Background Metals in Hawaiian Islands Soils This page provides links to a study of background concentrations of metals in soils across the Hawaiian islands. Soil sample data from several technical and scientific sources are incorporated. The associated report presents an evaluation of naturally occurring background concentrations of metals and related elements in the volcanic soils of the seven main Hawaiian islands (Kaua‘i, O‘ahu, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i, Maui, Kaho‘olawe, and Hawai‘i Island). Soil sample data were evaluated using cumulative probability plots, spatial and soil type distribution univariate plots, detailed spatial analysis, elemental association, geochemical analysis and professional judgment to estimate Hawai‘i-specific background concentration ranges.

HEER DU-MIS and EHE Training Webinar Series (2017)

Links to PowerPoint slides and audio recordings of the six-part, HEER Office DU-MIS and EHE training webinar series presented in June and November of 2017 are posted below. Time tags included for the audio recordings (click on “More” below title box in YouTube postings) were used to prepare the outline of each presentation posted below.

Part 1. Systematic Planning (John Peard, HDOH, June 26, 2017)
Part 2. DU Designation (Roger Brewer, HDOH, June 27, 2017)
Part 3. DU Characterization (Roger Brewer, HDOH, June 28, 2017)
Part 4. DU-MIS Field Implementation (John Peard, HDOH, June 29, 2017)
Part 5. Laboratory Processing of MI Samples (Diane Anderson, APPL Labs, Nov 15, 2017)
Part 6. EHE-EAL (ESL) Overview (Roger Brewer, HDOH, Nov 21, 2017)

Recordings of the webinars with Chinese Subtitles will be posted as they are prepared.

HEER Office Webinars and Presentations (Various)

A series of webinars and related presentations by HDOH office staff and invited, outside guests can be accessed and downloaded from the HEER Office Webinar page. These include presentations and workshops that discuss specific sections of the HEER office Technical Guidance Manual and Environmental Hazard Evaluation guidance documents. PowerPoint slides and links to recorded presentations are included.

Programmatic Environmental Hazard Evaluations and Environmental Hazard Management Plans

  • IWILEI DISTRICT PROGRAMMATIC EHE-EHMP: The Iwilei District encompasses approximately 315 acres of land in Honolulu and includes land owned privately and by the State of Hawaii. The HEER Office is overseeing remediation of potentially hazardous contaminants of concern that are present in soil, groundwater, and soil gas at various locations within the Iwilei District. Widespread, shallow petroleum contamination related to past releases from tank farms and pipelines is the primary concern, but metals and pesticides are also present in some areas.

    To assist those who may become exposed to this contamination, the HEER office has developed a Programmatic Environmental Hazard Evaluation (EHE) /Environmental Hazard Management Plan (EHMP) document for the Iwilei District that details remedial measures and controls that are consistent with EHMPs implemented at other sites in Hawaii where contamination is present. No further investigation or remedial action is required at many of these sites, provided that long-term site management requirements in the EHMP are followed.

    The PowerPoint for the Webinar on the Programmatic EHE/EHMP that was held on Wednesday, April 15, 2015 is available for download.
  • HART PROGRAMMATIC EHE-EHMP: Since 2011, 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 Honolulu Rail Transit Project (HRTP) alignment. Construction and preconstruction activities throughout the project require the movement of large volumes of soil and groundwater. In order to protect human health and the environment during the project, HART has completed additional sampling in some areas, written characterization reports for specific sites, written Environmental Hazard Evaluations (EHE) and Environmental Hazard Management Plans (EHMP) for specific sites, and developed a Programmatic EHE-EHMP to manage soil and groundwater throughout the entire HRTP. An overview of the HTRP project and related environmental documents, including interactive map is provided on a separate web pageat this link.

Additional HEER Guidance Documents and Research Projects

Additional HEER Office research reports and guidance documents can be accessed through the below link. Refer also to presentations and reports posted under the HEER Office Webinars and Presentations link further down this web page.

  • Arsenic in Waiakea Pond

    The report and fact sheet posted below summarize the results of a detailed, HEER Office study of arsenic in the sediment and biota of Waiakea Pond, in Hilo, Hawaii. High levels of arsenic were identified in sediment throughout the pond. The arsenic is believed to be associated with waste from a canec plant and a sugar mill that operated on the mauka (south) edges of the pond in the early 1900s. Although well above natural background, the arsenic was found to be tightly bound to naturally occurring iron in the sediment and not significantly toxic. Normal contact with sediment in the pond does not pose a risk to park users. Levels of arsenic in samples of fish and crabs collected from the pond were similar to naturally occurring levels of arsenic in the same species of fish and crabs from other areas of the islands. The arsenic does not pose a health risk to people who catch and consume fish and crabs from the pond. Although arsenic in the sediment does not pose a significant health risk to park users who periodically come in contact with the sediment, washing hands before eating and maintaining good hygiene in general is recommended to minimize exposure. Contact Roger Brewer or Dr Diana Felton with the HEER Office in Pearl City for additional information (1-808-586-4249).

  • Fill Material and Stockpile Testing (updated October 2017)

    The HEER office document "Guidance for Soil Stockpile Characterization and Evaluation of Imported and Exported Fill Material" was updated in October 2017. Updates primarily pertained to regulation of soil as a "waste" under RCRA. A hazardous waste determination is required if the concentration of a contaminant in soil exceeds the most conservative Tier 1 EAL for unrestricted land use (groundwater is a source of drinking water and <150m to surface water and) and the soil will be reused or disposed of offsite. TCLP data are required as part of a hazardous waste determination if Tier 1 EAL is exceeded AND the concentration of a chemical in soil (in mg/kg) exceeds 20 times the TCLP limit (in mg/L).

  • Long-Term Management of Contaminated Sites

    2007 HEER Office guidance for the long-term management of petroleum-contaminated sites is posted in the below link. The guidance can also be applied to non-petroleum sites as part of a site-specific, Environmental Hazard Management Plan.

  • Additional HEER Guidance Documents

    Provides links to download additional HEER office technical reports, memorandums and fact sheets associated with the Technical Guidance Manual otherwise not provided on this page.

  • LVP Soil Vapor Field Study (2017) and Sampling Guidance

    The below presentation on “Large Volume Purge (LVP)” methods for the collection of subslab vapor samples was originally give to the Hawaii Association of Environmental Professionals (HAEP) by Roger Brewer of the HDOH HEER Office on June 28, 2017. The slides and recorded presentation were subsequently modified to incorporate comments and questions received during the original presentation. A discussion of “LVP” sampling methods will be added to Section 7 of the HEER Office Technical Guidance Manual later this year. Comments and suggestions are welcome and should be sent to

    A draft update to Section 7 of the HEER Office TGM that incorporates LVP sampling methods is also posted below. Please send comments and edits to Roger Brewer by October 31st ( The document will be formatted for posting to the TGM web page (including figure locations) after incorporation of final edits. The discussion of LVP methods will be updated in the future based on input and experience with LVP methods in the field.

    The field report for the LVP study carried out in 2016 by the HEER Office is available for download from the link below. The report provides detailed diagrams of the equipment and methods used to collect both passive vapor samples and LVP vapor samples at the study site. Refer also to presentations on active and passive soil vapor sampling methods posted on this web page in March 2015.

    Field Study of High-Density Passive Sampler and Large-Volume Purge Methods to Characterize Subslab Vapor Plumes (HDOH 2017)

  • Discrete Soil Sample Reliability Field Study (2015-2017)

    This HEER Office field study evaluates the nature of random variability within and between co-located, discrete soil samples and discusses implications for the continued use of discrete soil (and sediment) sample data for final, decision making purposes as part of an environmental investigation. Hundreds of co-located discrete samples were tested at three sites known respectively to be contaminated with arsenic, lead and PCBs. Part 1 of the study presents the field study design and the resulting data. Part 2 of the study discusses implications for use of discrete data for site characterization and risk assessment purposes.

    Included below are links to the 2015 field study report (separate data files provided in Excel), PowerPoint slides and recorded presentations for Parts 1 and 2 of the study presented in 2016, a two-part paper on the study published in January 2017 and a summary of the field study presented to USEPA in August 2017. Refer to the "Discrete Soil Sample Variability Field Study" folder on the HEER Office YouTube channel for recorded presentations.

    A brief comparison of discrete vs Multi Increment sampling methods is included in the presentations. Refer to the four-part, Technical Guidance Manual series posted to the HEER Office webinar webpage in June 2017 for a detailed overview of DU-MIS investigation methods, including: 1) Systematic Planning of Site Investigations, 2) Designation of Decision Units, 3) Sampling theory and characterization of DUs (discrete vs MIS) and 4) DU-MIS field implementation.

  • Chemistry and Toxicity of Petroleum Vapors (2012-2014)

    This HEER Office field study evaluates the chemistry of vapors from fresh fuels and aged petroleum releases to soil and groundwater. Dozens of soil vapor samples were collected from multiple sites in Hawaii and tested using a suite of analytical methods.

    The study focuses on the carbon range makeup of the "TPH" component of vapors and the relative vapor intrusion risk posed by "TPH" vs "BTEXN." The study concludes that the mixture of aromatic and in particular aliphatic compounds that make up the "TPH" component of vapors can still pose significant vapor intrusion risks even though concentrations of benzene and other individual aromatics in vapors are well below levels of concern. Nonetheless, shallow LNAPL is required under most scenarios for a significant risk to be present. The link a paper published on the field study is also provided. The original paper published in 2013 was edited and re-published in 2014.

    An audio recording of a presentation given to the USEPA in 2013 is posted below. Slides are not included with the recording.

Fact Sheets and Brochures

Each fact sheet and brochure is provided in PDF format.

Honolulu Rail Transit Project

See the HEER Office Partners with Solid and Hazardous Waste Branch to Oversee Honolulu Rail Transit Project page for information on the project including EHE-EHMPs, site details and a map of Environmental Concerns Along Rail Project.


Visit the HDOH pesticide web page for a discussion of HDOH pesticide studies and the department's work with other agencies regarding various aspects of pesticide use in Hawaii.

HEER Office Newsletters

Please see past issues of the HEER Office Newsletters.