Mysterious oily sludge in Halawa draws new attention ... and concern

Updated: Sep. 4, 2019 at 9:40 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A mysterious ooze that’s been bubbling up for decades in a Halawa parking lot is getting new attention from community leaders who are calling for its removal.

The so-called Halawa tar pit is a basketball court-sized, underground oil plume near the Halawa Animal Quarantine Station. No one knows exactly what the sludge is or who dumped it there.

But during the the five years, environmental watchdogs said the tar pit has started to to migrate toward storm drains and the nearby Halawa Stream.

“It’s moved about 45 to 50 feet, down slope right near the street (since 2014),” said Carroll Cox, of Envirowatch, Inc.

“It’s absurd to leave it sitting like this.”

Cox said that if the oily material gets into the nearby storm drains and the Halawa Stream it could affect wildlife.

Former state lawmaker Melodie Aduja is the chair of a Hawaii Democratic Party’s Human Environmental Impacts Committee.

Aduja and several committee members examined the site earlier this week and are now urging the state, which owns the land, to remove the sludge.

“I just couldn’t believe it. We looked at various locations and when we finally saw the pit itself it was unbelievable," she said.

But the state said it did an assessment several years ago and found that the tar-like substance didn’t post a health risk to human or to the environment.

It also has said that cleaning up the site will cost $120,000.

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