A Kapolei landfill is more hazardous than initially thought as clean up options, costs vary

Updated: Jun. 15, 2017 at 7:32 PM HST
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KAPOLEI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - For decades, the U.S. Navy thought that its Barbers Point Sanitary Landfill near the Kalaeloa Airport posed little risk to the public. Now, that's being second-guessed.

Recent studies found that high levels of lead and other heavy metals on the surface were exposed by recent rains.

The Navy wants to treat the site by covering it up with more soil, but environmental watchdogs say that's not enough.

"If they were going to do anything, they should seal it up and treat it like a Brownfield site," Carroll Cox of Envirowatch Inc. said.

The Navy, whose plans are backed by the state Health Department, said that level of clean up will cost about $42 million.

Just covering it up has a much smaller price tag at about $1.2 million dollars.

These are among the options that are being presented to the public for discussion.

Ewa historian John Bond worries that the Navy only gave the public a month to comment to discuss the plans. He feels, more time is needed.

"Hiding all this from the public with an under the radar public notice... The Navy wants to keep public knowledge of this toxic waste disposal site a secret," said Bond.

The Navy disagrees, saying a public meeting was as scheduled on May 23.

"The meeting provided an opportunity for the public to hear a brief on the findings, evaluation of alternatives," said Navy spokeswoman Denise Emsley.

The public comment period for the Navy's proposals ends next Thursday.

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