EXCLUSIVE: Kamehameha Schools finishes landfill cleanup
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Kamehameha Schools said it's nearly completed with the first stage of its clean up of an alleged illegal landfill site at its Kapalama Heights campus.
For the past several weeks, the state's largest private landowner has hauled tons of construction debris, green waste and dirt under the supervision of the state Health Department.
"Now that the surface cleanup is nearing completion, KS is making arrangements to move on … to complete a topographical survey of the site, followed by a geophysical study," the trust said in a statement.
Some of the debris -- which may have been collected on the campus over decades -- was sent an unidentified Windward Oahu location and others went to the PVT Landfill in Nanakuli.
But PVT said it rejected some of the dirt because it wasn't tested for heavy metals and other contaminants.
Environmental activist Carroll Cox said the state should have required Kamehameha Schools to test the soils. Smaller landowners with less political clout are often required to do so, he said.
"The state Health Department should of have required that as part of their initial investigation," Cox said.
"When someone has money or influence, they don't get taken to task."
Back in June, Hawaii News Now reported the discovery of the 1.5-acre landfill on upper end of the Kapalama Heights campus along Reservoir Road. The area has been cleared and access is now limited to a small number of staffers.
Former employees told Hawaii News Now that the debris included old construction material dumped there over the years by private contractors and school staff.
The state, meanwhile, is still investigating and has received reports of two more dumpsites on campus.
Based on the seriousness of its findings, the state could fine Kamehameha Schools $10,000 per day per violations.
In a site evaluation work plan, the schools contractors EA Engineering, Science and Technology Inc. and the law firm of Bays Lung Rose & Holma said they are interviewing a number of current and former staffers to find out how the material got on campus.
They also plan to use ground penetrating radar to see if any heavy metals are buried under ground at the site.
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