Kalihi road with toxic lead finally gets state's attention over one year later

Updated: Oct. 10, 2017 at 8:10 PM HST
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(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

KALIHI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Over a year since the state learned of toxic conditions under a Kalihi road, crews are finally addressing the problem.

On Tuesday, Workers began patching potholes and other areas of broken asphalt on Factory Street.

In March, Hawaii News Now learned the crumbling street — littered with potholes and exposed soil — posed a health and safety hazard to residents.

Layers beneath the surface laid extremely high concentrations of toxic lead. On average, typical Hawaii backyard dirt has about 200 milligrams of lead per kilogram of soil — an amount small enough to not worry state health officials.

But Factory Street, as recent tests discovered, has nearly 50 times that amount at 10,000 milligrams of lead per kilogram of soil.

State officials learned of the potentially hazardous toxic dump in the summer of 2016, but said it posed no harm as long as it remained buried under the asphalt.

Officials believe the toxic material came from a company that used to manufacture lead fishing weights in the area.

After years of wear and tear, the road began to show it's age, cracking and exposing the soil beneath.

Although crews are filling the potholes and covering up the soil, the fix is only short-term.

The state says it's unclear who actually owns the road. Therefore, they're partnering with the city and other parties to maintain the street. Meanwhile, they continue to look for a long-term solution.

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