By Mr. Dino W Buchanan (USACE)October 1, 2018
FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii (Sept. 28, 2018) -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Honolulu District (USACE) has completed the final cleanup of unexploded ordnance (UXO) at the Kanahena Point Bombing Target area just north of the southern tip of Maui, a Formerly Used Defense Site (FUDS). The clean-up was completed more than seven decades since the first U.S. Navy practice artillery rounds landed during World War II.
Working closely with the State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and the State of Hawaii Department of Health (DOH), the USACE project team delivered a solution that achieved the overall remedial action objective to reduce occupational worker and recreational user exposure to explosive hazards to acceptable risk levels. The completed response ensures that exposure to munitions and explosives of concern pose an "unlikely" or a "negligible" hazard to the public.
According to the 'Ahihi-Kina'u NaturalArea Reserve Draft Management Plan (DLNR, May 2012), the former bombing target is located within the boundaries of the 'Ahihi-Kina'u Natural Area Reserve that is protected under the State of Hawaii's highly regarded natural area reserve system. It is home to young lava flow, healthy marine life, Hawaiian cultural sites, endemic plants and arthropods, and anchialine pools, which are unique to this location and are important to Hawaii's heritage and the global scientific community. The reserve is the third-most visited outdoor site in Maui, with an average of more than 2,000 residents and visitors passing through daily to snorkel, swim, and hike along the scenic rocky shoreline.
This remedial action is the conclusion of more than eight years in characterizing the nature and extent of the potential explosive hazards, analysis of remedial alternatives, and selection and implementation of a remedy to address public exposure to potential explosive hazards. The remedial action was accomplished as part of the Department of Defense's FUDS Program that is executed by USACE.
Following the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) process and FUDS program policies and guidance, USACE coordinates the remedial actions with the state regulatory agencies, landowners, stakeholders, and community members, taking into consideration archaeological, ecological, safety, and myriad stakeholder views.
In March and April of 2018, a team of 17 trained UXO technicians scoured more than 200 acres of rocky terrain to locate and safely remove more than 100 pounds of munitions debris and 700 pounds of trash from publically accessible areas, along hiking trails, around anchialine pools, in the right-of-way of Makena Alanui Road, and along the shoreline and perimeter of the 'Ahihi-Kina'u Natural Area Reserve.
A former bombing target containing World War II-era barbed wire fencing, miscellaneous construction debris and garbage was also cleared of munition items, hauled off-site for disposal, and thereby returning an otherwise abandoned area to use.
A state biologist was present throughout the remediation field effort monitoring the UXO team and to help minimize inadvertent impacts to the native ecosystems species and the ongoing habitat restoration efforts being conducted by the 'Ahihi-Kina'u Natural Area Reserve managers.
"The completion of the Remedial Action is the culmination of many years of collaboration between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, and State of Hawaii Department of Health," said Lori Wong, USACE Project Manager, who worked on the project since 2010. "We are delighted to have achieved the goals of the remediation efforts, returning the reserve to safe and educated use."