USACE-Honolulu District completes remedial actions

| October 1, 2018 | 0 Comments
Engineers take surveys in Hawaii. (Photo by Dino Buchanan, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Honolulu District Public Affairs)

Engineers take a grid sweep in Hawaii. (Photo by Dino Buchanan, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Honolulu District Public Affairs)

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Honolulu District Public Affairs

FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii — After more than seven decades since the first U.S. Naval practice artillery rounds landed during World War II at the Kanahena Point bombing target just north of the southern tip of Maui, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Honolulu District has completed the final cleanup of unexploded ordnance (UXO) at the formerly used defense site.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

The former bombing target is located within the boundaries of the ‘Āhihi-Kina‘u Natural Area Reserve, which is protected under the State of Hawaii’s highly regarded natural area reserve system. It is home to young lava flow, healthy marine life, Hawaiian cultural sites, endemic plants and arthropods, and anchialine pools that are unique to this location and are important to Hawaii’s heritage and the global scientific community. The reserve is the third most visited outdoor site in Maui, with an average of over 2,000 residents and visitors passing through daily to snorkel, swim, and hike along the scenic rocky shoreline.

This remedial action is the conclusion of more than eight years in characterizing the nature and extent of the potential explosive hazards, analysis of remedial alternatives, and selection and implementation of a remedy to address public exposure to potential explosive hazards. The remedial action was accomplished as part of the Department of Defense’s Formerly Used Defense Sites Program, which is executed by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

Following the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) process and Formerly Used Defense Sites Program policies and guidance, USACE coordinates the remedial actions with the state regulatory agencies, landowners, stakeholders, and community members, taking into consideration archaeological, ecological, safety, and other considerations and myriad stakeholder views.

Engineers take surveys in Hawaii. (Photo by Dino Buchanan, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Honolulu District Public Affairs)

Engineers investigate a site in Hawaii. (Photo by Dino Buchanan, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Honolulu District Public Affairs)

Working closely with the State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources and the State of Hawaii Department of Health, the USACE project team delivered a solution that achieved the overall remedial action objective to reduce occupational worker and recreational user exposure to explosive hazards to acceptable risk levels. The completed response ensures that exposure to munitions and explosives of concern pose an “unlikely” or a “negligible” hazard to the public.

In March and April of 2018, a team of 17 trained UXO technicians scoured more than 200 acres of rugged, rocky terrain, to locate and safely remove munitions items. More than 100 pounds of munitions debris and 700 pounds of trash were removed from publically accessible areas, along hiking trails, around anchialine pools, in the right-of-way of Makena Alanui Road, and along the shoreline and perimeter of the ‘Āhihi-Kina‘u Natural Area Reserve.

A former bombing target that contained barbed wire fencing from World War II, miscellaneous construction debris, and garbage, was also cleared of munitions items and then hauled off-site for disposal, thereby returning an otherwise abandoned area to use.

In addition, a biologist was present throughout the remediation field effort to monitor the UXO team and minimize inadvertent impacts to the native ecosystems species and the ongoing habitat restoration efforts being conducted by the ‘Āhihi-Kina‘u Natural Area Reserve managers.

“The completion of the Remedial Action is the culmination of many years of collaboration between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, and State of Hawaii Department of Health,” said Lori Wong, USACE Project Manager, who worked on the project since 2010. “We are delighted to have achieved the goals of the remediation efforts, returning the reserve to safe and educated use.”

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