Nonprofit calls on Navy to address high lead contamination in waters off Ewa Beach

Army property line and warning signs for the Puʻuloa Firing Range along the sand
Army property line and warning signs for the Puʻuloa Firing Range along the sand(Courtesy: Loren Mayr)
Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 4:26 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 4, 2022 at 4:49 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A local non-profit is calling on the Navy to address high levels of lead contamination along the Puuloa shoreline in Ewa Beach.

Surfrider Foundation Oahu said they collected samples in the beach adjacent to the Puualoa Range Training Facility earlier this year. The results show lead concentrations of up to 14,000 mg/kg.

The nonprofit said that’s 70 times more than the accepted level for residential areas and over 17 times the accepted public health levels for industrial areas.

The Hawaii Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response Office has established a lead standard of 200 mg/kg in residential areas and 800 mg/kg in industrial areas.

“These high lead concentrations are extremely concerning,” said Surfrider Foundation Oahu Chapter Coordinator Keili McEvilly. “This is a public health issue for all beachgoers and ocean users as well as a threat to the coastal environment.”

The said the military should clean the beach of any and all lead contamination and sample nearby soil and water in nearby residential areas.

A spokesperson for the Marines told the Honolulu Civil Beat that an environmental assessment takes place every 5 years and the last one in 2020 found no evidence of risk to human health or the environment.

A state Department of Health official said they will conduct their own testing to investigate the findings.