Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response Office

The State Department of Health Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response (HEER) Office's mission is to protect human health and the environment. The HEER Office reports directly to the Environmental Health Administration Deputy Director. The HEER Office provides leadership, support, and partnership in preventing, planning for, responding to, and enforcing environmental laws relating to releases or threats of releases of hazardous substances.

What's New

October, 2014 - UXO FORUM POSTPONED

Due to inclement weather conditions from Hurricane ANA, the UXO Forum will be postponed to a later date. As your attendance is important to us, we will contact you when we re-schedule the event.
Thank you for your support in our effort of UXO awareness and education.

October, 2014 – New HEER Office Report Available Comparing Use of Discrete and Multi-Increment Sampling Strategies for Environmental Investigations

The Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response Office has recently completed Part 1 of a two-part report evaluating discrete soil sampling variability at three contaminated sites in the state. The sites included investigations of lead and PCB contaminated sites on O‘ahu and an arsenic contaminated site on Hawai‘i Island. Part 1 summarizes data collected in the field investigations of contaminant variability, within individual discrete samples (intra-sample variability), within sets of discrete co-located samples around a single point (inter-sample variability), and for multi-increment samples. In addition to the detailed investigation findings, the report includes an initial interpretation of the data, implications for the reliability of discrete soil samples, and benefits of a multi-increment sampling approach for environmental investigations. Comments and suggestions regarding this report are welcome and should be provided to Roger Brewer at roger.brewer@doh.hawaii.gov. Part 2 (in preparation) will present a more detailed interpretation of the data and expand discussion on the potential for discrete sample decision error in site characterization, risk assessment, and remedial actions.
Discrete Sample Variability Report (HDOH Oct 2014) – Part 1 – Main Report (6.3 MB)
Discrete Sample Variability Report (HDOH Oct 2014) – Part 1 - Report Tables in Excel (1.8 MB)
Discrete Sample Variability Report (HDOH Oct 2014) – Part 1 – Appendix 1: Lab Reports (22 MB)

July, 2014 – Final Cleanup Action Plan Approved for the Former Kohala Sugar Company Pesticide Mixing Site

The Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH), Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response Office has approved a final cleanup action plan for the former Kohala Sugar Company pesticide storage/mixing site located near Hawi on Hawai‘i Island (TMK 03-5-5-019: 025, portion). The soils on a portion of this site are known to be contaminated with arsenic and dioxins at levels that require action to reduce potential for future exposures. A 2-page fact sheet describing the site and the approved cleanup action plan, as well as the complete Final Removal Action Report describing the site, Draft Removal action plan, public comment process, and the final cleanup action plan in more detail (67 pages, Part 1 Appendix Lab reports, Part 2) are provided in the links below. Detailed work implementation specifics will also be required for HEER Office review and approval before this cleanup action is started.

Fact Sheet on Approved Cleanup Action Plan for the former Kohala Sugar Pesticide Storage/Mix
Final Removal Action Report- former Kohala Sugar Pesticide Storage/Mix (Part 1: Text, Figures, Tables) (1.1 MB)
Final Removal Action Report- former Kohala Sugar Pesticide Storage/Mix (Part 2: Appdx: Lab Reports) (9.2 MB)

July, 2014 – Final Cleanup Action Plan Approved for the Former Hakalau Pesticide Mixing Site

The Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH), Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response Office has approved a final cleanup action plan for the former Hakalau/Pepe‘ekeo pesticide storage/mixing site at Hakalau on Hawai‘i Island (TMKs 03-2-9-02:79&81). The soils on a portion of this site are known to be contaminated with arsenic at levels that require action to reduce potential for future exposures. A 2-page fact sheet describing the site and the approved cleanup action plan, as well as the complete Final Removal Action Report describing the site, Draft Removal action plan, public comment process, and the final cleanup action plan in more detail (76 pages) are provided in the links below. Detailed work implementation specifics will also be required for HEER Office review and approval before this cleanup action is started.

Fact Sheet on Approved Cleanup Action Plan for the former Hakalau Pesticide Storage/Mixing Site
Final Removal Action Report for the former Hakalau Pesticide Storage/Mixing Site (4 MB)

May 2014 - Vanadium in Hawaii's Drinking Water

Vanadium is naturally occurring in Hawaii’s drinking water and not considered to be harmful at the levels present.
Vanadium in Drinking Water Fact Sheet

May 2014 - HEER Office Addresses Statewide Pesticide Concerns

Given the increased community concerns on Kauai and elsewhere about pesticide drift, the HEER Office has created a web page with documents and links addressing various aspects of pesticide use in Hawaii. Follow this link to go directly to the findings of the 2013-14 State Wide Pesticide Sampling Pilot Project.

December 2013 – Public Comment Period on Proposed Cleanup Actions for the Former Kohala Pesticide Mixing Site, December 5, 2013 – January 8, 2014

The Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH), Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response Office is inviting public review and comment on proposed cleanup actions at the former Kohala pesticide mixing site near Hawi, North Kohala district, Hawai‘i Island (TMK 03-5-5-019:025, portion). The soils on a portion of this site are known to be contaminated with arsenic and dioxins at levels that require action to reduce potential for future exposures. A Draft Cleanup Grant application that the landowner, Hawai‘i Island Community Development Corporation (HICDC) is planning to submit to a competitive USEPA grant program to seek partial funding for a site cleanup is also available for public review and comment. The public notice, a site fact sheet, the Draft Removal Action Report, and the Draft HICDC Cleanup Grant application are available for review and comment until January 8, 2014 (see links below). After the public comment period, the HEER Office will carefully consider all comments received and make a final determination on actions to address contamination at this site.

Public Notice for former Kohala Pesticide Mixing Site
Fact Sheet on Proposed Cleanup at the former Kohala Pesticide Mixing Site
Draft Removal Action Report - former Kohala Pesticide Mixing Site (Part 1, text, figures, tables – 1.7 MB)
Draft Removal Action Report - former Kohala Pesticide Mixing Site (Part 2, original lab reports – 9 MB)
Draft HICDC Cleanup Grant application

September 2013 - Honolulu Harbor Molasses Spill

Information and Updates

July 2013 - Draft Programmatic EHE/EHMP for the Iwilei District Mauka of Nimitz Highway

The Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH) Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response (HEER) office would like to thank those who attended out May 3, 2013 public meeting and responded with comments to our draft Iwilei Programmatic Environmental Hazard Evaluation and Environmental Hazard Management Plan (EHE/EHMP). The purpose of the EHE/EHMP is to provide guidance on the proper management of contaminated soil and groundwater encountered during installation and repairs of utilities in roadways, common areas and on properties that are not presently covered by a HDOH-approved EHE/EHMP. A Response to Comments solicited from the draft and a revised draft are available through the links below.

May 2013 – Public Comment Period on Proposed Cleanup Actions for the Former Hakalau Pesticide Storage/Mixing Site, May 15 – June 20, 2013

The Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH), Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response Office is inviting public review and comment on proposed cleanup actions at the former Hakalau/Pepe‘ekeo pesticide storage/mixing site at Hakalau on Hawai‘i Island (TMKs 03-2-9-02:79&81). The soils on a portion of this site are known to be contaminated with arsenic at levels that require action to reduce potential for future exposures. The public notice, a site fact sheet, and the Draft Removal Action Report are available for review and comment until June 20, 2013 (see links below). After the public comment period, the HEER Office will carefully consider all comments received and make a final determination on actions to address contamination at this site.

October 2012

Draft Updates to Section 7 of our Technical Guidance Manual (TGM): Soil Vapor and Indoor Air Sampling Guidance are available on the TGM Website.

August 2012 - Community Meeting and Upcoming Cleanup Action of Former Pesticide Mixing Area, Kilauea, Hawaii

Kilauea Removal Action Community Meeting Notice
EPA Cleanup of Kilauea PMA Fact Sheet July 2012
Kilauea Kekaha Landfill Disposal Fact Sheet
News Release: U.S. EPA, Hawaii Department of Health clean up soil in Kilauea neighborhood

June 2012 - 1,2,3-Trichloropropane Report

The Hawaii State Department of Health is making available a report on the human health risks of 1,2,3-Trichloropropane (TCP), a contaminant found in some sources of drinking water in Hawai‘i. The purpose of the report is to review the available data on the potential human health effects of TCP as a drinking water contaminant and evaluate the adequacy of Hawaii’s MCL for TCP.

June 2012 – Draft RAM Available for Hickam Communities Remedial Action Site

HDOH is soliciting public comment on its Draft Response Action Memorandum for the Hickam Communities Remedial Action site. Soils at the site contain elevated levels of organochlorine pesticides due to past application of termiticides. HDOH is proposing a remedy to address this hazard that combines engineering controls (soil caps and geotextile marker layers) with institutional controls. The official public comment period on the proposed remedy begins June 11, 2012, and ends July 11, 2012. A fact sheet is available.

The following supporting documents for the proposed remedy are also available:
(1) Removal Action Report (RAR) (28MB);
(2) Remedial Investigation Report (RI) (5MB), RI Report Appendices: A (1MB), B (12MB), C-1 (9MB), C-2 (7MB), C-3 (8MB), C-4 (7MB), C-5 (8MB), D (4MB), & F (1MB);
(3) Environmental Hazard Evaluation (EHE, RI Report Appendix E) (28MB);
(4) Remedial Alternatives Analysis (RAA) (3MB);
(5) Environmental Hazard Management Plan (EHMP) (29MB); and
(6) Land Use Controls Inventory Document (LUCID) (17MB).

May 2012 - Hanalei River

The Hawaii State Department of Health is providing the following information in response to an AP story posted by the Star Advertiser on April 30 (Biologist: Hanalei river, bay should be tested):
The concentrations of Arsenic, barium, chromium and lead reported by Hanalei River Heritage Foundation are within anticipated, natural background levels for the volcanic soils and related sediments of the Hawaiian Islands. The metals are naturally occurring, are tightly bound within minerals in the soil and are not toxic to humans or wildlife. The terrestrial and aquatic flora and fauna of Kaua‘i have lived with these metals since the island was created millions of years ago. They are similar to levels of metals in soil that would be found anywhere on the islands as well as much of the world, and are not related to manmade pollution. This is well documented in numerous reports over the past several decades, and summarized in the recent draft report “Hawaiian Islands Soil Metal Background Evaluation Report” prepared for the Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response Office of the Department of Health. Hanalei River Heritage Foundation incorrectly compared the sediment (mud) data to regulatory standards for drinking water. These are completely unrelated standards and are not applicable to metals in soil or sediment.

If you need more information or have any questions, please contact the Site Discovery, Assessment & Response Supervisor Fenix Grange at 586-4249.

May 2012 - The Hawaiian Islands Soil Metal Background Evaluation Report Now Available

The Hawaiian Islands background metals study has been in progress for several years and incorporates soil sample data from several technical and scientific sources. This 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. For more information on the report see the Cover Memo. View the full Hawaiian Islands Soil Metal Background Evaluation Report. View the summary table comparing background concentration ranges to HDOH Environmental Action Levels (EAL). Go to the Background Metals in Hawai‘ian Islands Soils page.

April 2012 - Kilauea, Kauai Pesticide Mixing Area Investigation Final Report Now Available

The HEER Office has completed extensive subsurface soil sampling of the former pesticide mixing and storage operation affecting three properties on Aalona Place in Kilauea on the island of Kauai. The final report is now available for public review. The report findings will be used by US EPA, DOH and the County of Kauai to determine appropriate actions needed to remediate the soils and restore safe use of the properties affected.

Download the Kilauea Site Inspection report to learn more:

December 5, 2011 - ADC Kekaha Diesel Generator Public Comment

HDOH has completed their response to public comment and made the Final Kekaha Emergency Generator Installation Site Remedial Decision and Responsiveness Summary.
There are a number of attachments to the document, available on the ADC Kekaha Diesel Generator page as separate items for ease of downloading.

October 2011 – New Fact Sheet and Sampling Guide for Termiticides

A new Fact Sheet and Sampling Guide for Organochlorine Termiticides at Residential Sites have been posted on the HEER Office Website, Technical Guidance and Fact Sheet page.

June 2011 - Hawai‘i Business News Article

Read how Brownfields and contaminated sites affect development in Hawaii.

June 2011 - Kilauea Pesticide Mixing Area Investigation

The HEER Office is continuing investigation of soil contamination from a former pesticide mixing and storage operation affecting two properties on Aalona Place in Kilauea on the island of Kauai. This summer we plan to collect more than 90 samples to further delineate the areas of contamination in preparation for a removal action. Download the following materials to learn more:

May 2011 - Fifth Hawai‘i Brownfields Forum

Access agenda, presentations and other event information.