Who Took Pahoa’s Trash Cans?

I noticed the other day that trash was beginning to pile up in Pahoa around different spots of town.

Pahoa Town

Pahoa Town

Today as I was driving around… I noticed that the public garbage cans that were around town had been removed.

I asked Pahoa Businesswoman and County Council Candidate Madie Greene what happened to them and she said that the contract for the people who were taking care of them had expired.

Greene said that the garbage cans should be back this week with a new contract in place but she wasn’t sure which company is contracted for the services as of yet.

Also if you haven’t heard, Business Services Hawaii has now set up a recycling redemption center right across from the Pahoa Post Office.

Department of Health Reaches Settlement With Central Maui Landfill and Molokai Solid Waste Facility

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) and the County of Maui Department of Environmental Management have reached a settlement on two enforcement cases concerning solid waste violations at the Central Maui Municipal Solid Waste Landfill and the Molokai Integrated Solid Waste Management Facility.

Department of Health

The combined settlement involves a cash penalty payment of $70,000 and a supplemental environmental project that is valued at not less than $70,000.

The proposed supplemental project is a household hazardous waste collection program for the islands of Maui, Molokai and Lanai to be conduct ed during fiscal year 2015 (July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015). The County of Maui, the remaining county that currently lacks such a program, plans to continue the project beyond the inaugural year.

DOH cited the Central Maui Municipal Solid Waste Landfill with three counts of permit violations from January to April 2011 for failure to maintain leachate compliance levels in the leachate wet well and sump, and failure to monitor and record leachate levels after a storm event. The DOH initially imposed an administrative penalty of $121,900 prior to the settlement. The facility is located off Pulehu Road in Puunene.

DOH cited the Molokai Integrated Solid Waste Management Facility with a two-count violation in April 2011 for failing to minimize liter generation and failure to place daily cover at the facility. An administrative penalty of $20,955 was initially imposed prior to the settlement. The facility is located off Maunaloa Highway in Naiwa.

The County of Maui has completed all corrective actions stemming from the alleged violations.

Operating Hours at Big Island HI5 Redemption Sites to Change

Effective July 1, 2014, the hours of operation at all ten (10) HI-5 Certified Redemption Centers at Hawai‘i County recycling and transfer stations will change.

Please see the new schedule of days and hours below:Transfer DaysAll sites will remain open from 8:00 AM to 3:30 PM. For the convenience of the public, all sites will remain open during this time, and will not close for lunch.

Due to site preparations for transition for a new contract to operate the redemption centers, all ten (10) County HI-5 Certified Redemption centers will be closed for two (2) days on Monday, June 30, 2014 and Tuesday, July 1, 2014.  Additionally, all ten (10) County HI-5 Certified Redemption Centers will be closed Friday, July 4, 2014 in observance of the holiday.

The Department of Environmental Management thanks the public for your cooperation and understanding as we work with our contractors to make the HI-5 program as convenient as possible.

For more information or copies of the new schedule, please visit www.hawaiizerowaste.org or contact Chris Thayer at cthayer@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Matson’s ‘Ka Ipu ‘Aina’ (Container for the Land) Grants Available

Matson shipping company announces it’s ‘Ka Ipu ‘Aina’ (Container for the Land) Grants are available. This program is designed to underscore Matson’s environmental commitment to Hawai’i’s communities and environment.

Matson’s ‘Ka Ipu ‘Aina’ (Container for the Land) Grant was used for a clean up in Hawaii Ocean View Estates.

Matson’s ‘Ka Ipu ‘Aina’ (Container for the Land) Grant was used for a clean up in Hawaii Ocean View Estates.

Matson will donate the use of container equipment on the Big Island for environmental cleanup projects arranged by non-profit organizations.  They will pay the trucking expenses incurred in the delivery and pickup of the containers.

In addition, Matson will make a $1000 cash contribution to each of the non-profits that successfully complete a cleanup initiative.

Community Clean-up

Community Clean-up

Note:  There is a time frame for the clean up. Contact:  Mona 961-5286.

Malama O’oma Day

ooma day

Free Household Hazardous Waste Collection Offered

Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) collection events will occur between 7:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., as follows:

  • Saturday, June 7, 2014 at the Hilo Recycling and Transfer Station.
  • Saturday, June 14, 2014 at the Kailua-Kona (Kealakehe) Recycling and Transfer Station.

These events are for household generated and self-hauled waste only.  Business, government agency, non-profit agency or farm wastes are not allowed.  NO electronic waste will be accepted.


The County of Hawai‘i Department of Environmental Management holds these regular collection events so households can conveniently dispose of acceptable HHW in a manner that protects both public health and the environment.  Some types of acceptable HHW are automotive fluids, used batteries, fluorescent lights and pesticides.  Latex paint will be accepted at the Hilo & Kona events for reuse.  For a more complete list of acceptable or unacceptable HHW, please visit our website www.hawaiizerowaste.org. The website includes other useful information on solid waste diversion and recycling.

If you are unable to attend the events described above, the next scheduled HHW Collection Events will be on December 6, 2014 in Hilo and December 13, 2014 in Kailua-Kona (Kealakehe).

Please direct your comments or questions regarding these HHW Collection Events to Chris Chin-Chance, Recycling Specialist with the Department of Environmental Management at 961-8554 or email to recycle3@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Ka’u Community Coastal Cleanup This Weekend

Kau Cleanup

U.S. Forest Workers Help to Restore Ancient Hawaiian Fishpond in Kīholo

It’s National Preservation Month, and people all over the country are participating in events to enrich and preserve the treasures within their communities that make them special.

(L-R) Flint Hughes, research ecologist at the Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, and Rebecca Most from The Nature Conservancy transport debris across the anchialine pool to a staging area where it will be chipped into mulch. (U.S. Forest Service)

(L-R) Flint Hughes, research ecologist at the Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, and Rebecca Most from The Nature Conservancy transport debris across the anchialine pool to a staging area where it will be chipped into mulch. (U.S. Forest Service)

Staff from the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station recently helped to restore an ancient Hawaiian fishpond in Kīholo, Hawaii, that has a rich history and tradition of providing a sustainable food source for the surrounding communities on the Big Island. Working in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy and Hui Aloha Kīholo, Station staff from the Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry cleared and hauled debris from the fishpond perimeter in order to reduce the accumulation of sediments caused by overhanging non-native plants, which improved foraging habitat for native fish and turtles. The group also replanted culturally and ecologically appropriate native species, restored habitat for rare invertebrate species, removed invasive weeds, and participated in native plant care within an area surrounding a nearby anchialine pool, which will be used as a nursery for future restoration activities.

Staff from the Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, The Nature Conservancy and Hawaii’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife haul a tarp loaded with debris onto the raft as part of the restoration efforts at the Kiholo ponds. (U.S. Forest Service)

Staff from the Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, The Nature Conservancy and Hawaii’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife haul a tarp loaded with debris onto the raft as part of the restoration efforts at the Kiholo ponds. (U.S. Forest Service)

Their work was part of an on-going effort to return the fishpond to its previously recorded ecological health, to evaluate the fishpond’s potential for revival as a reliable and sustainable food source within the community, and to improve the surrounding habitat to its former healthy state so that native plants and unique animal populations could successfully return to the area. In addition to saving and rehabilitating a valuable resource, project organizers used the effort to engage the community in fishpond ecology, scientific monitoring and on-the-ground conservation efforts while also connecting people to place.

Kiholo Bay

Kiholo Bay

The preservation project will be used as a platform that combines science and culture to teach and connect the community to each other and to Kīholo. In addition, the project attracts numerous local school groups to the fishpond, and engages volunteers and students in stewardship and research activities, including thinning invasive vegetation that is preventing access, damaging historic structures, and contributing harmful leaf litter to fishpond waters. The Nature Conservancy hosts volunteer restoration days at Kīholo fishpond the third Saturday of each month.

Department of Health Cites Hawaii County for Solid Waste Permit Violations

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has filed two Notices and Findings of Violation and Order against the County of Hawaii for solid waste permit violations occurring at the South Hilo and West Hawaii sanitary landfills.

Hawaii Department of Health

During compliance inspections conducted on May 23 and 24, 2013, at the South Hilo Sanitary Landfill located off Leilani Road in Hilo, DOH found that the county failed to cover disposed solid waste with daily or intermediate cover for approximately 28 days. These violations occurred between Jan. 1 and May 31, 2013, and over many areas of the landfill including closed and active disposal areas.

In addition, the county failed to monitor groundwater quality for at least one sampling event, failed to monitor for explosive gas along the perimeter of the landfill for two consecutive quarters between September 2012 and June 2013, and failed to ban and remove whole tires from the active disposal area. DOH has ordered the County of Hawaii to correct the violations and pay an administrative penalty of $328,190. The county has requested a hearing to contest the allegations and order.

During a March 5, 2014, inspection of the West Hawaii Landfill located at 71-1111 Queen Kaahumanu Hwy. in Puuanahulu, North Kona, DOH discovered unpermitted storage of approximately 800-1,000 tons of scrap metal and appliances. DOH has imposed a penalty of $21,900, and ordered the county to cease accepting and accumulating scrap metal and white goods and remove and dispose of all accumulated scrap metal and white goods. The County of Hawaii may request a hearing to contest these allegations or the order.

The DOH Solid Waste Section regulates standards governing the design, construction, installation, operation and maintenance of solid waste disposal, recycling, reclamation and transfer systems. Such standards are intended to prevent pollution of the drinking water supply or waters of the state, prevent air pollution, prevent the spread of disease and the creation of nuisances, protect the public health and safety, conserve natural resources, and preserve and enhance the beauty and quality of the environment.

Forest Restoration in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

On Friday, May 16, 2014 from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., the Friends of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park hosts a volunteer Forest Restoration project.

Removing Non-Native Invasive Species by Carol Johnson

Removing Non-Native Invasive Species by Carol Johnson

This month we will be removing invasive, non-native faya plants in an area of cindery soil. Most of the faya will be ones that have grown since we worked in the area two years ago. Many faya will be seedlings that pull easily; a few are maturing trees that we will cut with handsaws. This is a wonderful ‘ohi’a forest with a nice variety of native under-story plants. We’ll also learn about the park’s native forest restoration and invasive plant control programs.

Volunteers should be at least 12 years old, and be able to hike at least one mile over uneven terrain through brush in an area with a moderate slope. Sturdy walking shoes and long pants are required, along with gear for variable weather conditions (be prepared for sun or rain with a hat, raincoat, sunscreen, etc.) plus drinking water and a snack.

In addition, imperative is scrubbing the soles of one’s shoes prior to arrival on site, in order to ensure outside dirt and invasive species seeds aren’t tracked in.

Our goal is a crew of 16 people, and pre-registration is required. All participants will need to sign a Friends release form and a park volunteer form. For those under 18, an adult will need to co-sign.

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Patty Kupchak at forest@fhvnp.org or call (808) 985-7373 by Monday evening, May 12. Please include your first and last name, email address, and a phone number where we can reach you at the last minute in case of cancellation.

DLNR Announces Changes To Coral And Live Rock Rules

The Department of Land and Natural Resources today announced that amendments to Hawaii Administrative Rules, Chapter 13-95, Rules Regulating the Taking and Selling of Certain Marine Resources, will take effect Thursday, May 1, 2014.

Kauai sediment coral die off

Kauai sediment coral die off

The purpose of the amendments is to strengthen the rules and stiffen penalties for intentional or negligent large-scale damage to stony coral and live rock, such as by vessel groundings, introduction of sediments, biological contaminants, and other pollutants. It remains unlawful for any person to take, break, or damage any stony coral or live rock. It’s also unlawful to sell stony coral or live rocks.

Coral damaged by a boat anchor. Division of Aquatic Resources photo.

Coral damaged by a boat anchor. Division of Aquatic Resources photo.

“These new rules tighten up the state’s ability to enforce damage to an essential habitat that provides millions of dollars in ecosystem services through fishing and tourism,” said Frazer McGilvray, administrator for the Division of Aquatic Resources.

Coral damaged by sunken or grounded vessel. Division of Aquatic Resources photo.

Coral damaged by sunken or grounded vessel. Division of Aquatic Resources photo.

Stony corals are defined as any species belonging to the Order Scleractinia (marine corals which generate a hard skeleton) that are native to the Hawaiian Islands. All reef corals, including mushroom corals, belong to this order.

Sewage spill on coral. Division of Aquatic Resources photo.

Sewage spill on coral. Division of Aquatic Resources photo.

Live rock is defined as any natural hard substrate to which marine life is visibly attached or affixed. Virtually every hard substrate in nearshore waters has something living attached to it.

The full text of the rule may be obtained online at http://state.hi.us/dlnr/dar/rules/ch95.pdf or at any Division of Aquatic Resources office.

What Does “Hawaiian Aloha – Aloha Hawaiana” Smell Like?

I’m curious what these smell like?  But really… “Hawaiian Aloha – Aloha Hawaiana”?

Hawaiian Aloha Glad Bags?

Hawaiian Aloha Glad Bags?

Hawaii Wildlife Fund and State Team Up to Clean Manukā Natural Area Reserve (NAR)

Saturday marked the fifth year that Hawaiʻi Wildlife Fund (HWF) has teamed up with the State’s Natural Area Reserve crew to clean up a stretch of coastline within the Manukā Natural Area Reserve (NAR), which extends from Ka‘ū into South Kona.  During this time, over 130 people have helped haul over 2,975 pounds of marine debris and shoreline rubbish off this remote stretch of coastline that extends from Humuhumu Pt. to the north.

Group photo at the end of a long, successful, cleanup day!

Group photo at the end of a long, successful, cleanup day!

This weekend was no different.  After driving over very rough roads and hiking over a mile each way, the 30 cleanup participants hauled 26 bags of debris (weighing ~430 lbs.) off the isolated shoreline.  Volunteers came from Hilo, Kona, Puna and Kaʻū and worked for hours on this collective mission to mālama ke kahakai (take care of the shoreline).

Cleanup volunteer, Joe Robinson, drives the HWF truck towards the cleanup site.

Cleanup volunteer, Joe Robinson, drives the HWF truck towards the cleanup site.

NAR Specialist, Jenn Randall, arranged to bring an all-terrain vehicle to haul debris back to the staging site where it will be removed by helicopter in the coming week.  Mike McCagh, with HI Kombucha, brought a keg of grapefruit kombucha tea to share with the hardworking participants.  Tony Villegas, with Coconut Auto Repair, provided a 4WD vehicle to transport a group of youngsters from Kaʻū.  Joe Robinson, underwater photographer from Kailua-Kona, donated his time and equipment to photo document and film the event.  Randall, added that they were quite pleased by the outcome of the day and that volunteers had removed all the debris she was hoping for with energy and enthusiasm.

Volunteers, Brian Waldo and Tony Villegas, showing off their debris finds.

Volunteers, Brian Waldo and Tony Villegas, showing off their debris finds.

HWF has been leading community-based efforts to remove marine debris from along the Ka‘ū coastline since 2003.  During this time, HWF estimates that over 90% of the 168 tons of debris removed is plastic (e.g., fishing line/nets, shampoo bottles, toothbrushes).  As the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s Marine Debris Program shares, “Marine debris affects everyone”.  Here locally, HWF strongly believes that the solution begins with individuals like those of who volunteered this weekend and with the small decisions that residents of Hawaiʻi Island make each day.

An assortment of interesting finds from the event … (not including one small glass float).

An assortment of interesting finds from the event … (not including one small glass float).

Examples of these choices include re-using or simply refusing single-usage plastics, bringing your own water bottle or using available drinking fountains, and carrying your own to-go ware to Styrofoam-toting restaurants.

HWF’s Project Coordinator, Megan Lamson, implores, “Do your part to help our marine and coastal wildlife: choose to re-use, remember to recycle, and limit your single-use purchases!  We live on an island, and we must be mindful of how we are treating the land, freshwater, and ocean that support us.”

Kaʻū youth group with their leader, Terry Shibuya, and NARS crew (intern Rory and Specialist Jenn Randall).

Kaʻū youth group with their leader, Terry Shibuya, and NARS crew (intern Rory and Specialist Jenn Randall).

For more info about getting involved in an upcoming cleanup event, please contact HWF at kahakai.cleanups@gmail.com, call 808-769-769 or check out their website at www.wildhawaii.org

Hawai’i Community Foundation Restoration Partnership Announces over $400,000 in Grants to Local Nonprofits

The Hawai’i Community Foundation (HCF) today announced its 2014 recipients of the Community Restoration Partnership (CRP) grants, totaling over $400,000 to fund the protection and restoration of Hawai’i’s coastal areas.

Hawaii Community FoundationCRP is a collaboration of government agencies, foundations and private donors who provide funds to ensure healthy and sustainable fishery resources, advance innovative restoration techniques, engage local communities in active environmental stewardship, and encourage science-based monitoring to evaluate restoration project success.

“As Hawai’i’s unique coastal resources face increasing threats from invasive species, climate change, and development, it’s more important than ever to support the key organizations who help to protect our environment,” said Josh Stanbro, director of environment and sustainability at HCF. “Through the Community Restoration Partnership, we provide financial assistance for on-the-ground restoration projects that improve ecosystem function and support traditional cultural practices.”

CRP began in 2009 as a partnership with NOAA’s Restoration Center, supported by former Senator Daniel K. Inouye.  Since its inception, the partnership has provided more than $1.5 million in funding to local community organizations, actively bridging cultural and environmental stewardship efforts.

“One of the main priorities of the Hawaii Tourism Authority is to support programs that protect and enhance Hawai’i’s unique natural resources and environment, which are frequented by visitors,” said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the HTA. “Supporting HCF’s Community Restoration Partnership programs allows us to sustain our environment, which is one of our most precious destination assets.”

The Community Restoration Partnership is made possible by the Hawai’i Community Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Restoration Center, the Weissman Family Foundation, the Hawai’i Tourism Authority.  Another key partner-the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation-recently offered a new challenge grant to inspire new funders to join CRP.  All funding partners jointly review and recommend grants each year through a unique advisory process that also includes resource specialists.

“The most successful community groups have tackled their projects with multiple partners,” says Stanbro. “We’ve taken the same collaborative approach on the funding side and learned a lot in the process.”

Interested funders for the Community Restoration Partnership may contact Josh Stanbro at 808-537-6333 or jstanbro@hcf-hawaii.org. Grant applications for upcoming projects will soon be available, due for submission in July 2014. For more information, visit http://www.hawaiicommunityfoundation.org/grants/community-restoration-partnership.

2014 Community Restoration Partnership Grant Recipients:

Friends of Waikīkī Aquarium: A sustainable program that seeks to restore the native marine plant and herbivore community to the reef at Waikiki, specifically addressing invasive algae (seaweeds).

Hui Aloha Kīholo: A restoration project that includes activities in six anchialine pools along the North Kona coastline, protecting the unique habitat from invasive non-native fish, as well as re-establishing a sustainable population of ‘opae’ula to reintroduce the region-specific traditional practice of palu ‘opelu fishing.

Kaiola Canoe Club: A program that clears mangrove and other invasive plants and replants native vegetation to reclaim nearly three acres near the Pu’ali Stream, organizes community work days with youth organizations, and serves the neighboring communities.

Kohala Watershed Partnership: Continued work to restore native vegetation and reduce the bare ground on the Kohala watershed, providing an opportunity for Pelekane Bay’s marine habitats to regenerate while sharing methods and knowledge with restoration projects along the Kohala coastline to multiply the impact of their work on land-based sediment pollution.

Kupu: Kupu’s CU program (formerly known as the Urban Corp), provides under-serviced youth and young adults an opportunity to gain work experience and the chance to graduate with a high school diploma, including a total of 2,500 hours of volunteer service each year at sites that focus on marine resources as well as expanding natural resource and coastal environmental knowledge to a population of young adults who often have little to no knowledge or experience with natural cultural resources.

Mālama Pupukea-Waimea: A project that protects the coral reef habitat in the Pupukea Marine Life Conservation District, reducing sediment flow to the reef by installing native plants to hold in place soil currently eroding from the Pupukea Beach Park.

Maunalei Community Marine & Terrestrial Management: A project to protect and restore the coral reef habitat and estuaries and reduce annual land-based sediment by fencing near shore coastal watershed habitat to eliminate overgrazing impacts, allow for native flora plantings, implement permaculture erosion mitigation methods, establish a good well source of water to support traditional farming practice, and create a multi-story agroforest to stabilize the slope and provide food crops for the community.

The Nature Conservancy of Hawai’i: The Nature Conservancy of Hawai’i’s Kane’ohe Bay Reef Restoration Project will construct a mini-barge that will be used to remove and transport invasive algae from the reef in Kaneʻohe Bay to the Heʻeia wetlands to be used as fertilizer by the nonprofit Kakoʻo ʻOiwi’s agricultural projects, as well as support the restoration of native sea urchins and other herbivores in Kane’ohe Bay to continually manage algae regrowth.

Waipa Foundation: A project to continue the restoration of function and habitat in a degraded segment of Waipa Stream and its estuary as well as enhancing coastal wetland habitat, targeting another two acres in 2014 to build upon the four acres already treated.

Mahalo to the Hawaii Wildlife Fund and Laupahoehoe Public Charter School

Hawaii Wildlife Fund (HWF) and Laupahoehoe Public Charter School’s sixth graders teamed up to spruce up Hilo’s bayfront on Friday.

bags full of trash, weighing in at around 55 pounds, were removed from Hilo’s bayfront Friday morning by 6th grade students from LPCS at a beach clean up hosted by a local non-profit, Hawaii Wildlife Fund"

Bags full of trash, weighing in at around 55 pounds, were removed from Hilo’s bayfront Friday morning by 6th grade students from LPCS at a beach clean up hosted by a local non-profit, Hawaii Wildlife Fund”

This cleanup was in preparation for Sunday’s Ocean Day Mālama Kanaloa event. In only one hour, 10 students and 5 adults managed to remove 1,082 pieces of trash from the bayfront – approximately 55 lbs in 2 bags. The crew mostly picked up land-based trash including lots of cigarette butts along with some more interesting finds like a cow bell, a shaving razor, and several small bundles of derelict fishing nets.

A 6th grader, from Laupahoehoe Public Charter SChool (LPCS) removes a large tire from Hilo’s bayfront on Friday, March 7 during a beach clean up with Hawai’i Wildlife Fund.

A 6th grader, from Laupahoehoe Public Charter SChool (LPCS) removes a large tire from Hilo’s bayfront on Friday, March 7 during a beach clean up with Hawai’i Wildlife Fund.

HWF is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving Hawaii’s native flora and fauna

To learn more about regular beach cleanup opportunities on Hawai‘i and Maui Islands, please contact HWF at kahakai.cleanups@gmail.com or see our website at www.wildhawaii.org.


Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

County of Hawai‘i Releases Stage 1 Request for Proposals for Waste Reduction Technology

Mayor Billy Kenoi officially launched the drive to develop a clean, modern and efficient waste reduction technology for the County of Hawai‘i with the release of Stage 1 of the county’s request for proposals (RFP) on March 3.

The RFP process will allow the county to select a proven, economically viable and environmentally friendly process for managing solid waste from East Hawai‘i for at least the next 20 to 30 years, Mayor Kenoi said.

Public Landfill

“For the past two decades this county engaged in study after study to determine the best way to cope with the required closure of the South Hilo Sanitary Landfill,” Mayor Kenoi said.  “It is now time to act. We are inviting the best and brightest in the industry to submit their proposals for a state-of-the-art facility that will benefit our community, and allow us to transform our solid waste from a liability into an asset.”

The county will continue its commitment to recycling, including a program to provide mulch made from green waste for agricultural and other uses. In 2013 the county recycled more than 217 tons of materials per day, including metals, glass, plastics and green waste. The waste reduction project will not affect those efforts, Mayor Kenoi said.

The design-build-operate RFP calls for a facility that can accommodate about 300 tons of solid waste per day. The facility will be built near the existing county Sort Station, and will be privately financed. Stage 1 of the RFP will identify the most qualified teams and technologies for the project.

Mayor Kenoi briefed the Hawaii County Council Committee on Environmental Management on the county plan on Feb. 4, and briefed the county Environmental Management Commission on the project and process on Feb. 26.

Communications from potential vendors regarding the project must be directed to county Purchasing Agent Jeffrey Dansdill at jdansdill@hawaiicounty.gov.  Responses to Stage 1 of the RFP are due on April 15.

Volunteers Needed to Malama Maunakea

The Office of Mauna Kea Management (OMKM) is seeking community volunteers to participate in its monthly “Malama Maunakea” campaign to protect the mountain’s fragile resources.  Community members are encouraged to sign up for open volunteer days – Saturday, April 19; Saturday, June 7 or Saturday, July 26.

Volunteers work to help Malama Maunakea along with Office of Mauna Kea Management

Volunteers work to help Malama Maunakea along with Office of Mauna Kea Management

“Our overarching goal at the Office of Mauna Kea Management is to malama Maunakea. Taking care of 12,000 acres is a daunting task, but with collaborative community partnerships we can accomplish much,” stated OMKM Director Stephanie Nagata. “We are so thankful to the school groups, service organizations, Chambers, individual and families of volunteers who give of their weekend to take care of Maunakea.”

The invasive species weed pulls throughout 2013 proved to be quite successful with 236 participants volunteering 1,747 hours, pulling 363 garbage bags of invasive weeds on eight separate occasions and also planting 200 Maunakea silversword.

The Saturday weed pulls concentrate on eradicating the invasive fireweed (Senecio madagascariensis) along the Mauna Kea Access Road and around Halepohaku at approximately 9,200’ elevation.  The fireweed pulls help keep this invasive species from being transported to the upper elevation areas of Maunakea and reduce habitat for invasive insects.

The Malama Maunakea volunteer day begins at 8 am.  For Hilo-based volunteers, transportation to and from Hilo is provided. For West Hawaii volunteers, OMKM will help coordinate ride sharing. Upon arrival at Halepohaku, the volunteers are given a project orientation and allowed time to acclimate to the high elevation. Invasive weed pulls focus on the area along the Mauna Kea Access Road near Halepohaku. A brief tour of Maunakea resources completes this fulfilling day on the mountain.

Who can help? Everyone, including families and kids under parent supervision, student groups 16 years of age and older, community members, visitors, are all welcome.  Space is limited. To volunteer or for more information contact OMKM Natural Resource Program Manager Fritz Klasner at 808-933-3194 or email: OMKMvolunteers-grp@hawaii.edu.

37 Facilities in Hawaii Reported 2.7 Million Pounds of Toxic Chemicals Being Released in 2012

Nationally, total releases of toxic chemicals decreased 12 percent from 2011-2012, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) report and Pacific Southwest state fact sheets published today.

In Hawaii, a total of 37 facilities reported a total of 2.7 million pounds of toxic chemical releases during 2012. Hawaii’s total reported on-site and off-site releases increased when compared to 2011 data.

Highlights of data from 2012 in Hawaii show that since 2011:

  • Air: Air releases increased 2 percent
  • Water: Water releases increased 6 percent
  • On-Site Land: On-site land releases increased 46 percent.
  • Underground Injection: Underground Injection releases increased 21 percent
  • Off-Site Transfers: Total off-site transfers have decreased 9 percent

For detailed Hawaii information and the state’s Top 5 releasing facilities please see the state fact sheet at http://www.epa.gov/region9/tri/report/12/tri-2012-hawaii-report.pdf

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

“Our yearly analysis of chemicals being used by industry helps residents understand which chemicals are used in their neighborhoods,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “This year we have enhanced our fact sheet system to aid in getting TRI information about specific locations.”

New for this year is an updated fact sheet system that allows users to explore customized data. Scroll down at the link www.epa.gov/tri to enter your zip code, city, or county, and the new tool will create a fact sheet to show you toxic releases near you.

The annual TRI report provides citizens with critical information about their communities. The TRI Program collects data on certain toxic chemical releases to the air, water, and land, as well as information on waste management and pollution prevention activities by facilities across the country.

The TRI data reports are submitted annually to EPA, states, and tribes by facilities in industry sectors such as manufacturing, metal mining, electric utilities, and commercial hazardous waste. Many of the releases from facilities that are subject to TRI reporting are regulated under other EPA program requirements designed to limit harm to human health and the environment.

Release data alone are not sufficient to determine exposure or to calculate potential risks to human health and the environment. TRI data, in conjunction with other information, such as the toxicity of the chemical, the release medium (e.g., air), and site-specific conditions, may be used to evaluate exposures from releases of toxic chemicals.

Hawaii Wildlife Fund Kau Community Work Day

Join Hawaii Wildlife Fund (HWF) to learn about native plants, animals, and anchialine pool ecosystems, participate in “muck sucking” and help us remove invasive grasses from this fragile habitat!

Kau Restoration DayWHEN: Friday January 24th and Sat January 25th

Please bring your kids, families, tabie, bag lunch, water/beverages, hat, sunglasses, small hand tools, work clothes, swimsuit and 4WD vehicles (if can)

HWF will provide gloves, buckets, tools, sunscreen and water re-fills.

PRIZES will be awarded to the best ne “muck sucker”, for the best fall into the pool, to the dirtiest volunteer (i.e. covered in much and/or limu and to the person who hauls the most buckets of paspalum.

For more info OR to RSVP please contact Megan Rose Lamson at meg.HWF@gmail.com or 808/769-7629.


Hawaii County Plastic Bag Ordinance Transition Period Ends January 17, 2014

The one-year transition period specified in the Hawai‘i County Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance ends January 17, 2014. After that date, businesses on Hawai‘i Island shall not provide plastic checkout bags to their customers. The purpose of the ordinance is to reduce the usage of single-use plastic bags by prohibiting their distribution at store checkouts and encouraging the usage of reusable bags.
Bring your bags

Many stores are choosing to stop using plastic bags and are already encouraging customers to bring their own reusable bags. One high quality reusable bag can replace hundreds of single-use plastic bags over its lifetime. In the long term, the cost of a reusable bag can be lower than the cost of the single-use plastic bags it replaces.

The ordinance exempts plastic bags without handles that are used for retail items such as meat, produce, bulk food items, garments, and prescription drugs. It also exempts non-profit organizations and non-incorporated community booster organizations. Paper bags are still permitted under the ordinance.

If a business violates the ordinance, a warning letter will be issued. A second violation will result in a civil fine of $250 per day. The third violation will result in a civil fine of $500 per day and subsequent violations will result in civil fines of $1,000 per day.

Environmental problems posed by plastic bags warrant the implementation of this type of law and it is consistent with the County’s General Plan, which implores the County to “take positive action to further maintain the quality of the environment.” It is an important milestone on the County’s path toward Zero Waste, a commitment to protecting our island.

Hawai‘i County residents join 54% of the world’s population who live in an area that has plastic bag bans or fees to reduce plastic pollution. All Hawai‘i counties have passed plastic bag reduction ordinances, joining a growing list of cities, counties, and nations around the world taking similar initiatives including 28 entire countries.

For more information, please visit HawaiiZeroWaste.com where the ordinance, rules, and outreach materials can be viewed and downloaded. For questions and additional information about the new ordinance, please contact the Department of Environmental Management at bring-ur-bag@hawaiicounty.gov or (808) 961-8942.