Army Team Detonates Ordnance Discovered at Molokai Landfill - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Army Team Detonates Ordnance Discovered at Molokai Landfill

Carroll Cox Carroll Cox

By Minna Sugimoto

MOLOKAI (KHNL) -- An examination of military ordnance found dumped at the Molokai landfill this week suffers another setback. For the second day in a row, the investigative team's arrival at the site is delayed.

The Army says its team left Oahu for Molokai Wednesday morning, but the aircraft had to turn back because of a mechanical problem. The unit finally arrived at the site late Wednesday afternoon.

County officials say there's no way the landfill can re-open by Thursday.

Military ordnance nestled among car parts and other junk at the Molokai landfill. How safe is this? Maui county officials still don't have an answer.

"As far as getting results from the explosives ordnance team, they have yet to determine what the next steps are," Mahina Martin, county public information officer, said.

An Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit based on Oahu was expected to arrive on site earlier in the day to examine the pieces, which were discovered by a worker looking for scrap metal Monday. But an aircraft problem delayed the team's flight.

"It's just a situation that's out of control," Carroll Cox, Envirowatch, said.

Environmentalist Carroll Cox hits the road to conduct his own investigation. He says even if the shells are free of explosives, they could still pose a public hazard.

"You may take the gun powder out and the trigger mechanisms or the blasting, or the firing pins," he said. "But again, there are other constituents of concern, right? There could be phosphorous. We don't know."

He wants to know how the military ordinance wound up at the county-run landfill.

"This is clearly an opportunity for us to take a look and see what exactly occurred that ended up with this much ordnance," Martin said. "And even if it was one, it's one too many. They do not belong in any landfill. It jeopardizes, you know, the health and safety and security of the community."

Army officials say they took some pieces of ordnance to a nearby quarry to detonate. The work continues.

Thursday is a scheduled trash pick-up day for Molokai residents. But county officials are asking residents to not put their trash outside for pick-up Thursday. They say they're working on a plan to address this.

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