Kilauea neighborhood residents on the Hawaiian island of Kaua‘i have been invited to a public meeting tomorrow to discuss remediation solutions planned for a former pesticide mixing site. The meeting is being hosted by the Environmental Protection Agency and Hawaii Department of Health Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response.
An Associated Press report said the area used to be home to the Kilauea Sugar Mill, and that sugar cane farmers used a combination of arsenic and pesticides on the land during its operation.
According to an article in The Garden Island newspaper, remediation plans include excavating contaminated soil from two impacted residential properties, as well as the construction of a permanent stormwater swale to intercept and isolate contaminated soil from a nearby commercial property.
EPA officials told the newspaper there would be heavy machinery noise and traffic in the area while remediation efforts are ongoing. The public meeting is an opportunity for officials to explain measures being taken to avoid public exposure to contaminated soils as they are being excavated and removed from the area.
"EPA will work with impacted residents and businesses to minimize the short-term impositions that the mitigation efforts will have on the surrounding community," the agency said in a press statement.
While soil remedies are necessary to remove dangerous materials from contaminated areas, there is often trepidation on the part of local residents. Loud noises and traffic can disrupt daily routines. However, what is often more unsettling is the sight of hazardous materials being pulled from the ground near one's home.
These public meetings provide local officials and soil remediation companies an opportunity to assuage public concerns and assure residents that every precaution is being taken to maintain their safety during waste removal and treatment.