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 NewSeptember 2015
The Hawaii Brownfields Forum #7 will be held Tuesday, Sept. 22, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Neal Blaisdell Center.July, 2015 –Discrete Sample Variability Study Updates
The HEER office carried out a field study of potential discrete soil sample error in 2013 and 2014. The study evaluated the variability of contaminant concentrations both within discrete soil samples and between closely located sample points. The goal of this study was to provide a better understanding of the magnitude and sources of error associated with the use of discrete soil samples for the investigation and cleanup of contaminated properties.
Part 1 of the study presents the results of detailed, discrete soil sampling at three sites in Hawai´i previously known to be contaminated with arsenic (Study Site A), lead (Study Site B) and PCBs (Study Site C). The report, initially posted in October 2014, was updated in June 2015 to include additional analytical data as well as additional, statistical evaluation of the data. The updated report, including Excel files of data summary tables, can be downloaded from the links below.
Part 1: Summary of Field Data (pdf, 8,263KB)
Part 1: Appendix 1: Lab Reports (27 MB)
Part 1: Data Summary Tables (Excel, 5,464KB)
Part 2 of the study evaluates the sources of random variability of contaminant concentrations in discrete soil samples and discusses implications for the use of discrete soil sample data in environmental investigations. Topics discussed include: 1) Concepts of contaminant distribution in soil during preparation of environmental guidance in the 1980s and 1990s, 2) Nature and importance of “hot spots” versus “hot areas,” 3) Factors behind the need for multiple, remobilizations for site characterization, 4) Causes of “failed” confirmation samples following site remediation, 5) Artificial “hot spots” and “cold spots” in computer-generated, isoconcentration maps, and 6) Use of discrete sample data in environmental risk assessments, including the appropriateness of excluding “outlier” data in estimates of mean, contaminant concentrations. The report for Part 2 of the study can be downloaded from the following links:
Part 2: Implications (pdf, 11,572KB)
Part 2: Summary Tables (Excel, 249KB)
It is hoped that the results of this study will contribute to the current, re-evaluation of the reliability of discrete soil samples in environmental investigations and the need to move toward more technically defensible and efficient, incremental sampling methods. The reports will be updated and amended as needed in the future. Comments and suggestions are welcome and should be provided to Roger Brewer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Iwilei District encompasses approximately 315 acres of land in Honolulu and includes land owned privately and by the State of Hawaii. The Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response (HEER) Office of the Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH) 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. This document 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 document can be downloaded here: Programmatic Environmental Hazard Evaluation (EHE) /Environmental Hazard Management Plan (EHMP) document for the Iwilei District
A Webinar on the Programmatic EHE/EHMP was held on Wednesday, April 15, 2015. The full Long Term Management of Contaminated Soil and Groundwater webinar can be viewed on YouTube or the PowerPoint Presentation can be downloaded.Recorded Vapor Intrusion Webinars
The HEER office is sponsoring a series of webinars on topics related to environmental contamination and remediation.
March 11, 2015 - Use of Active and Passive Soil Gas Samples to Support Vapor Intrusion Investigations
February 18, 2015 - Dungeons, Dragons, Pica Houses and the Need for Alternative, Vapor Intrusion Screening Tools
Information and download links for the webinars are provided on the Series Page.December 2014 - KGMB News Story on the ERRF
KGMB News video featuring Chris Lee explaining the function of the Environmental Response Revolving Fund (ERRF), describing the ERRF funding crisis, and discussing legislative action needed to avoid losing critical positions at DOH that protect our environment.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.
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)
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.
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
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
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.
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.
- Public Notice for former Hakalau Pesticide Storage/Mixing Site
- Fact Sheet on proposed cleanup at former Hakalau Pesticide Storage/Mixing Site
- Draft Removal Action Report for former Hakalau Pesticide Storage/Mixing Site
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
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).
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:
- Short Version-Report Body Only 2.2 Mb
- Full Version-Body with Attachments, Appendices and Figures 25.3 Mb
- Kilauea Pestiside Mixing Area News Release
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.
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.
- Past Use of Chlordane, Dieldrin, and other Organochlorine Pesticides for Termite Control in Hawai‘i: Safe Management Practices around Treated Foundations or during Building Demolition
- A Guide to Soil Testing for Organochlorine (OC) Termiticides at Residential Sites in Hawai‘i
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:
- Arsenic in Soils - Former Kilauea Mill Fact Sheet, March 2011
- Press Release - DOH Holds Community Meetings to Discuss Soil Contamination Found in Kilauea on Kauai
- Kilauea Community Meeting - Presentation, March 2011
Access agenda, presentations and other event information.