Postponed Elections to Be Held Friday at Keonepoko Elementary

Chief Election Officer Scott Nago, in consultation with the State Attorney General, Department of Defense and the Office of the County Clerk, announced today that an election will be held on Friday, August 15th at Keonepoko Elementary School for the two polling places whose election was postponed due to Hurricane Iselle.

Elections 2014

Only voters who are assigned to Hawaiian Paradise Community Center (04-01) and Keoneopoko Elementary School (04-02), who did not previously vote by absentee mail ballot or at an early vote site will be allowed to vote.

Polling place hours will be from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Voters in line at 6:00 p.m. will be allowed to vote. Final results of the 2014 Primary Election will be released the same evening at www.hawaii.gov/elections.

HELCO Update on Repairs in Puna After Hurricane Iselle

Crews from Hawaii Electric Light will be joined today by Oahu crews from Hawaiian Electric as work continues on restoring power to customers affected by Tropical Storm Iselle.

Additional field crews are being brought in from the Mainland. Contract construction crews are also supplementing the restoration workforce.

“We understand this is a difficult time for our customers, so we’re essentially tripling our workforce and doing everything we can to restore power as quickly as possible,” said Darren Pai, Hawaii Electric Light spokesman.

Snapped Pole

A snapped pole on Kahakai Drive in Hawaiian Beaches.

Crews have been able to stabilize the island’s transmission system, which serves as the backbone of the electric grid and is essential to maintaining service. Restoration efforts are now focused on neighborhoods that are still without power. Power was restored Sunday night to portions of Hawaiian Paradise Park.

Today, crews expect to make progress in the following areas: Paauilo Mauka, Orchidland, Fern Acres, and Mountain View. Electrical line crews are also working in Ainaloa and Leilani Estates subdivisions. Restoration progress may be impacted by access to due storm debris, fallen trees, or other conditions in the field.

Hawaii Electric Light expects to be able to have crews working tomorrow in Hawaiian Beaches and the remaining portions of Hawaiian Paradise Park.

In many areas, the restoration process involves three significant processes, each requiring different sets of work crews. First, in many cases tree trimming crews must clear away fallen trees and other debris so crews may access the areas. Second, excavation crews must dig new holes so replacement utility poles may be set. Depending on soil and terrain issues, this can be a time consuming process. Finally, electrical line crews will set new poles and repair downed power lines.

Some locations do not require replacement of downed utility poles. In these cases, electrical line crews are working to repair fallen power lines and other repairs needed to restore power. In these cases, restoration is faster than in areas that require pole replacements.

“Our customers will see many different crews and vehicles from different companies working in their neighborhoods. They are all part of our collective effort to restore power,” Pai said.

Customers are reminded not to approach any downed power lines, as they may have electricity running through them and can be dangerous. If you see someone injured by a downed power line, call 9-1-1 for assistance.

Hawai‘i Electric Light also today opened a Customer Information Center at the Hawaiian Shores Community Center in Hawaiian Beaches. Company representatives will be on hand to answer questions from the public and provide the status of repairing the damage caused by Tropical Storm Iselle. Customers may bring their electronic devices and get them charged. A charging station will be available at the center.

The centers will remain open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. as the restoration process continues.

In addition, Hawaiian Beaches Water Company will be on hand at the Customer Information Center to distribute water for free. Each family may receive up to five gallons of water and must bring their own containers.

Lava Flow Reaches Forest Boundary – Lava Lake Activity Continues

The June 27 flow continues to advance at a brisk rate, and has reached the forest boundary over the past week.

HVO94

Click to enlarge

On Wednesday’s overflight, thick plumes of smoke from burning vegetation partially obscured the flow front.  See the “maps” link above for Wednesday’s flow field map.

A wider view of the flow front, looking east. The June 27 flow is the lighter-colored lava passing through the center of the photograph.  Click to Enlarge

A wider view of the flow front, looking east. The June 27 flow is the lighter-colored lava passing through the center of the photograph. Click to Enlarge

The usual lava lake activity continues in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater with no major changes related to the recent hurricane.

Hvo96

Click to Enlarge

Yesterday the lake surface was about 40 meters (130 ft) below the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, which has been typical over the past several weeks. Lake surface migration was from north to south (top of photo to bottom), and occasional gas bubbles were bursting through the crust.

Community Assistance Information for Tuesday 8/14/14

This is a Community Assistance information update for Monday, August 11 at 6 P.M.

Community Assistance Centers will be open tomorrow, Tuesday morning from noon to 4 P.M. at Community Centers in Hawaiian Shores, Leilani Estates, and Nanawale, as well as the Kalani Retreat Center.

Iselle 037

These centers will offer water, ice, and other supplies while they last. Bring a container for ice or water as bags or bottles may not be available. If you are able to get to a retail store to get your supplies, we encourage you to do so and leave these supplies for those who cannot get to a store.

The Pahoa Pool is open for showers and phone charging until midnight, and will reopen at 5:30 A.M. Tuesday. The pool itself will reopen for swimming during regular hours.

The Red Cross shelter at the Pahoa Community Center will remain open Monday night for those displaced by the storm, as well as for cell phone charging. No pets are allowed in the shelter.

Be advised that HELCO crews are working in Puna subdivisions and energizing lines as possible. AT&T reports that limited cellular service has been restored.

National Guard in Pahoa

Uniformed Hawai‘i National Guard personnel are patrolling the affected areas in official National Guard vehicles, along with Police and Community Emergency Response Teams to ensure public safety.

The following County parks are still closed due to storm damage: Hilo Trap & Skeet Range, Isaac Hale Beach Park, Ahalanui Park, and Kolekole Beach Park. All other County parks are open, but exercise caution as storm debris may still be in the area.

Registered voters assigned to the polling places that were cancelled on Saturday, August 9 – Hawaiian Paradise Park Community Center and Keonepoko Elementary School – will have the opportunity to vote on Friday, August 15 from 7 A.M. to 6 P.M. at Keonepoko Elementary School.

Mahalo for listening and have a safe day.This is your Hawaii County Civil Defense.

HELCO Update – 10% of Big Island Remains Without Electricity

Hawaii Electric Light crews continue to work on restoring power as quickly as possible to customers who lost electricity as a result of Tropical Storm Iselle. About 8,100 customers (approximately 10 percent of total Hawai‘i Island customers) remained without power, mostly in the Puna District but also in smaller pockets on the east side of the island. Power was restored to a portion of Hawaiian Paradise Park late Saturday afternoon.

Photo by Lori Liwai-Kong

Photo by Lori Liwai-Kong

Crews have made significant progress repairing the main transmission lines that serve as the backbone of the island’s electric grid, making the overall system more stable. Now crews can focus their attention on restoring power to individual neighborhoods.

Customers who have not yet reported their outage should call 969-6666 to report it.

Customers who are still without power at this time should expect an extended outage into next week and, in some cases, much longer.

Hawaii Electric Light will continue to prioritize work that will bring service back to the largest number of customers while keeping the grid stable. This systematic approach will help ensure that power will stay on once restored. For example, on Saturday, crews restored power to major roads in Hawaiian Paradise Park. This work brought the power back on for customers on Kaloli, Beach Road, and parts of Paradise Drive. By fixing the lines that bring power into the neighborhood, crews can now focus on individual streets in Hawaiian Paradise Park.

Hawaii Electric Light urges customers to remember downed power lines should be considered dangerous. Do not approach a downed line or attempt to move it. If you see someone injured by a downed line, call 9-1-1 for assistance.

Customers are asked to check that stoves and other appliances are turned off or unplugged to avoid safety hazards or damage to their appliances as power is restored.

Hawaiian Electric and Maui Electric are sending crews, vehicles and other equipment to assist with the restoration. In addition, contracted construction and tree-trimming companies are also participating. Collectively, this will nearly triple the number of crews in the field conducting damage assessment and working to restore power to customers.

All workers participating with the restoration process will be wearing badges identifying them as employees of Hawaii Electric Light, Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, or an approved utility contractor. Customers should feel free to ask for proper identification if approached by someone who says they are from Hawaii Electric Light or any other organization. Utility company vehicles are clearly marked. Approved contractors have signs for their vehicles indicating they are working on behalf of the company.

Hawai‘i Electric Light’s business offices will reopen for normal business on Monday. Some services, such as new service requests, may be delayed as work crews focus on the restoration effort. Statement from Jay Ignacio, president of Hawai‘i Electric Light:

We understand the frustration of our customers who are still without power and sincerely apologize to them. We understand that customers want estimated restoration times so they can plan. Unfortunately, the extent of damage is worse than anything we’ve ever seen here. We’re working on providing more specific, reliable estimates and hope to do so by tomorrow (Monday) morning. Customers without power should expect to remain without it well into next week, if not longer. Again, we apologize and ask for their continued patience.

“Our first priority was to repair our high–voltage transmission lines. With the backbone of the island’s electric system restored, and our grid more stable, crews can start working on restoring neighborhood circuits for customers who are still without power.”

When Iselle hit Hawai‘i Island, the wind and rain caused trees to topple and fly into power lines, breaking lines and poles. We were in a very precarious situation at the end of last week. As Iselle hit our island, we started losing our transmission lines – the backbone of our electric grid – and came very close to losing the whole island. Of the 35 transmission lines on the island, we lost more than half during the storm. Both the north and south transmission lines were lost as well as the transmission lines serving Puna Geothermal Venture. 

As soon as Iselle passed, crews began working to repair the high voltage transmission lines. Some of these lines could be restored through automatic switching. 

But others, like the line that runs from Papaikou to Kalopa Mauka/Makai, have to be partially rebuilt. Some of the broken poles were on very high embankments. Crews worked around the clock to rebuild this section of the line, only to have another tree fall onto lines in another area. 

The transmission line serving Puna Geothermal Venture goes through a forested area near Nanawale Estates, and our crews cannot reach this line because of the many fallen trees. That area has at least 19 broken poles and will take a very long time to rebuild, starting with bulldozers to clear a path for trucks and crews. We were working on an alternate transmission line in an effort to get PGV back into service, but changed our focus early Sunday to restore customers as soon as we safely can. 

We thank our customers for their efforts to reduce energy use on Friday so we could meet the energy demands of the whole island.”

HELCO Statement on Restoring Power to the Puna Areas of the Big Island

Hawaii Electric Light crews are continuing to work on restoring power to customers who lost electricity as a result of Tropical Storm Iselle.

Photo by Lori Liwai-Kong

Photo by Lori Liwai-Kong

An estimated 9,200 customers remain out of power in Hawaiian Paradise Park, Puna, Orchidland Estates, Leilani Estates, Nanawale, Kapoho, Kalapana, Hawaiian Beaches, Hawaiian Shores, and Waipunahina. In addition, there are outages affecting smaller pockets of customers of customers in areas from Hamakua through Volcano. Customers who have not yet reported an outage in a location that is not listed should call 969-6666 to report the outage.

Iselle caused extensive damage to power lines and utility poles and crews are still assessing the damage. As a result, customers still without power should expect extended outages, which could last into next week and in some cases, particularly the Puna area, much longer.

Photo by Lori Liwai-Kong

Photo by Lori Liwai-Kong

Crews are focusing their efforts on repairing damage to the island’s transmission system, which serves as the backbone of the electric grid and is essential to providing service across the island. Much of the damage is in remote areas that are difficult to access. In many cases, crews have to cut their way through fallen trees to provide access for vehicles, equipment and personnel. The Puna District, which was especially hard hit by Iselle, is also quite large; the entire island of O‘ahu can fit within the Puna District.

To assist with the restoration process, Hawaiian Electric crews from O‘ahu and Maui will be traveling to Hawai‘i Island.

All storm-related outages on Oahu and Maui County were restored on Friday.

For those who will be without power for an extended time, below are some food safety tips.

Important safety information for those still without power:

  • When using a portable generator, carefully read and follow instructions in the manufacturer’s manual. Do not plug the generator into your household electrical outlets. Never use a generator inside a home, basement, or garage. Only use the generator outside, away from your home’s windows, doors, and vents. Connect a heavy-duty, outdoor-rated power cord to the generator. Appliances can then be connected to the power cord. Make sure the outdoor-rated power cord is sufficient to handle the maximum electrical flow or electrical load from the generator. Check that the generator is properly grounded. Store reserve fuel in a safe place away from the generator or any other equipment that might ignite the fuel; use containers designed for fuel storage.
  • Stay away from downed power lines. Assume they are energized, or “live,” and dangerous. If you see someone injured after touching a downed power line, call 9-1-1 for help and do not approach the injured person.

Refrigerated foods

  • Discard any perishable food that has been above 41 degrees Fahrenheit for more than two hours. Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of perishable foods such as meat, poultry, fish, and leftovers before you cook or eat it.
  • Always discard any items in the refrigerator that have come into contact with raw meat juices.

Frozen foods

  • Foods can stay frozen in the freezer for one to three days: one day for a half-full freezer, three days for a fully stocked freezer
  • Food that has been thawed completely and has not been held at or below 41 degrees should be cooked and eaten immediately. If your food still has ice crystals, it’s safe to refreeze.

As a general rule, “when it doubt, throw it out.”

If your power is out for an extended period, consider using dry ice if available. Please remember to use gloves or tongs when handling dry ice. Dry ice can be placed directly on top of your foods, since dry ice cools things under it.

These tips have been adapted from the Hawai’i Department of Health’s “Food Safety – During and After a Power Outage” brochure and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Foodsafety.gov website. For specifics on when to save or throw out certain types of food, see pages 68 and 69 in our Handbook for Emergency Preparedness, which can be found on our website at www.hawaiielectriclight.com under the “Safety and Emergency” tab.

Damage Claims:

Customers who wish to submit damage claims can access a claim form at www.hawaiielectriclight.com under the “residential services” section.

4.5 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Big Island… Residents Wait for Hurricane #Iselle

A 4.5 Magnitude earthquake struck the Waimea area of the Big Island this morning:
4.5 waimeaMany Big Island residents may not have felt it as we are also preparing for Hurricane Iselle to hit us within the next 12 hours:
iselle 87

Civil Defense 6:30 PM Message on Hurricane Iselle

A HURRICANE WARNING CONTINUES FOR THE BIG ISLAND. 
A HURRICANE WARNING CONTINUES FOR WATERS AROUND THE BIG ISLAND. 
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING CONTINUES FOR OAHU...MOLOKAI...LANAI... 
KAHOOLAWE...MAUI. 

Hurricane Iselle
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING CONTINUES FOR WATERS AROUND OAHU...MAUI 
COUNTY WATERS...PAILOLO CHANNEL AND ALENUIHAHA CHANNEL. 
A TROPICAL STORM WATCH CONTINUES FOR NIIHAU...KAUAI. 
A TROPICAL STORM WATCH CONTINUES FOR KAUAI NORTHWEST WATERS... 
KAUAI WINDWARD WATERS AND KAUAI LEEWARD WATERS. 
A FLASH FLOOD WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR ALL OF THE HAWAIIAN ISLANDS. 
 
.STORM INFORMATION... 
 
AT 5 PM HST...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE ISELLE WAS LOCATED NEAR 
LATITUDE 17.7N...LONGITUDE 147.5W...OR ABOUT 515 MILES 
EAST-SOUTHEAST OF HILO HAWAII AND ABOUT 720 MILES EAST-SOUTHEAST 
OF HONOLULU HAWAII. HURRICANE ISELLE IS MOVING WEST-NORTHWEST AT 
18 MPH. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 90 MPH. 
 
.SITUATION OVERVIEW... 
ISELLE IS EXPECTED TO BRING HEAVY RAINS...HIGH SURF AND DAMAGING 
WINDS. HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED TO DEVELOP ON THE BIG 
ISLAND OF HAWAII ON THURSDAY. TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE 
EXPECTED TO SPREAD TO MAUI COUNTY THURSDAY NIGHT AND TO OAHU ON 
FRIDAY. SWELLS GENERATED BY ISELLE WILL BUILD TONIGHT...POSSIBLY 
BECOMING DAMAGING ALONG SOME COASTLINES ON THURSDAY. HIGH SURF IS 
EXPECTED TO REACH THE ISLANDS AHEAD OF THE HEAVY RAINS AND STRONG 
WINDS. THE HIGH SURF MAY BRING COASTAL FLOODING...PARTICULARLY 
WHEN COMBINED WITH AFTERNOON ASTRONOMICAL HIGH TIDES. THE THREAT 
OF COASTAL FLOODING AND PROPERTY DAMAGE WILL BE GREATEST ON 
WINDWARD BIG ISLAND. 
WHILE THERE IS STILL SOME UNCERTAINTY IN THE EXACT TRACK AND 
STRENGTH OF ISELLE...THE BIG ISLAND AND MAUI ARE EXPECTED TO BE 
IMPACTED FIRST. 
 
.PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... 
 
.NEXT UPDATE... 
 
THE NEXT LOCAL STATEMENT WILL BE ISSUED AROUND 1230 AM HST...OR 
SOONER IF CONDITIONS WARRANT. 
 
...HURRICANE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT... 
 
...PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... 
 
...WINDS... 
BASED ON THE LATEST FORECAST TRACK...WINDS OVER 40 MPH ARE 
EXPECTED TO BEGIN OVERSPREADING THE AREA THURSDAY AFTERNOON AND 
EARLY THURSDAY EVENING. IN SOME AREAS...WINDS WILL BE AS HIGH AS 
60 TO 70 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 85 MPH ON THURSDAY NIGHT. 
DAMAGING WINDS ARE EXPECTED. SOME DAMAGE TO BUILDING STRUCTURES 
COULD OCCUR...PRIMARILY TO UNANCHORED STRUCTURES...SUCH AS SCHOOL 
PORTABLES. SOME DAMAGE IS LIKELY TO POORLY CONSTRUCTED SIGNS. 
LOOSE ITEMS LEFT OUTDOORS WILL BECOME PROJECTILES...CAUSING 
ADDITIONAL DAMAGE. PERSONS STRUCK BY WINDBORNE DEBRIS RISK INJURY 
AND POSSIBLE DEATH. NUMEROUS LARGE BRANCHES OF HEALTHY TREES WILL 
SNAP. SOME TREES WILL BE UPROOTED...ESPECIALLY WHERE THE GROUND 
IS SATURATED. MANY AREAS WILL LIKELY EXPERIENCE POWER OUTAGES 
WITH SOME DOWNED POWER POLES. 
GUSTS WILL BE STRONGEST OVER MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN...THROUGH 
PASSES...AND WHERE WINDS BLOW DOWNSLOPE. WINDS AFFECTING THE 
UPPER FLOORS OF HIGH RISE BUILDINGS WILL BE SIGNIFICANTLY 
STRONGER THAN THOSE NEAR GROUND LEVEL. 
 
...STORM SURGE AND STORM TIDE... 
SURF WILL STEADILY INCREASE ALONG THE BIG ISLAND WINDWARD COAST 
TONIGHT...AND REACH HAZARDOUS LEVELS AS THE STORM APPROACHES. 
SURF HEIGHTS WILL REACH 15 TO 25 FEET ON THURSDAY AND THURSDAY 
NIGHT. THE ASTRONOMICAL HIGH TIDE FOR HILO BAY IS 120 PM AT 2.8 
FEET ON THURSDAY AND 203 PM AT 3.0 FEET ON FRIDAY. THE HIGH SURF 
AND HIGH TIDE COMBINATION WILL BRING COASTAL FLOODING ALONG LOW 
LYING AREAS. STORM SURGE IS EXPECTED TO REACH 1 TO 3 FEET DURING 
THE STORM PASSAGE...ADDING TO THE THREAT OF COASTAL FLOODING AND 
PROPERTY DAMAGE THURSDAY AFTERNOON AND NIGHT. 
 
...INLAND FLOODING... 
 
A FLASH FLOOD WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR THE ENTIRE AREA. HEAVY 
RAINFALL OF AROUND 5 TO 8 INCHES IS EXPECTED WITH ISOLATED 
RAINFALL TOTALS OF 12 INCHES. THESE HEAVY RAINS COULD LEAD TO 
LIFE THREATENING FLASH FLOODS.

Civil Defense Update for Hurricane Iselle

This is a civil defense message.

This is a Hurricane Warning information update for Wednesday August 6th at 12:00 Noon.

Hurriane Iselle

The National Weather Service has issued a Hurricane Warning for  the Island of Hawaii remains in effect.  A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions can be expected within the next 36 hours.  The hurricane conditions will include high surf and surge along all coastal areas, heavy rains and possible thunder showers that may present with flood conditions, and sustained storm force winds of over 75 mph and higher gusts.  Residents and visitors are advised to take precautions and to prepare for hazardous conditions.  Boat owners are advised to check moorings and to secure all vessels.  All preparation activities should be completed before tonight.  Hurricane Iselle continues to be monitored and is currently located approximately 625 miles east southeast of Hilo and moving west northwest at 16 miles per hour.  Although hurricane Iselle had previously shown signs of weakening current assessment show the system is maintaining hurricane force conditions.  Hurricane Iselle will continue to be monitored and additional updates will be broadcasted as information is made available.  All schools are open today however the following schools will be closing at 2:00 PM today and the after school programs and activities at these schools will be suspended:

  • Laupahoehoe School
  • Kohala HS & Elem.
  • Kealakehe HS
  • Konawaena HS
  • Hilo HS
  • Waiakea HS
  • Keaau HS
  • Pahoa HS & Int
  • Honokaa HS & Int
  • Kau HS
  • Waikoloa Elem

The department of Education reports that all Hawaii Island Schools will be closed tomorrow Thursday August 7th.

In addition, all beach parks will be closed effective tonight and remain closed until conditions improve and it is safe to reopen.

Updated information for the Big Island, Maui county and the surrounding coastal waters.

Situation overview

Iselle is expected to bring heavy rains, high surf and damaging winds. Hurricane conditions are expected on the Big Island of Hawaii on Thursday. Tropical storm conditions are expected to spread to Maui county Thursday night and possibly to Oahu on Friday. Swells generated by Iselle are expected to reach the main Hawaiian islands today, possibly becoming damaging along some coastlines starting late tonight or Thursday. High surf is expected to reach the islands ahead of the heavy rains and strong winds. The high surf may bring coastal flooding, particularly when combined with afternoon astronomical high tides.

While there is still some uncertainty in the exact track and strength of Iselle, the Big Island and Maui are expected to be impacted first. The rest of the state remains at Risk to experience the impacts of Iselle.

State of Hawaii Attorney General Announces $11.3 Million Settlement Involving Deceptive Credit Card Business Practices

Attorney General David M. Louie announced today that the State of Hawaii has reached settlements totaling approximately $11.3 million to resolve cases against four credit card companies, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Discover Financial Services, and Citibank, regarding marketing practices for credit card payment protection plans alleged by the Attorney General to be deceptive under state law.

JP Morgan“We filed these cases to protect Hawaii consumers and stop illegal and deceptive practices of marketing credit card protection plans,” said Attorney General Louie. Consumers were typically solicited by their credit card company via phone or email with misleading sales pitches that omitted important information.

Many Hawaii consumers were duped into signing up for a service that they would not have otherwise purchased. The improper conduct included: enrolling consumers without their consent; providing misleading information about free trial periods; distorting plan benefits; billing for services not provided; unfairly charging credit card customers for interest and fees; or denying plan benefits to eligible customers.

“With the resolution of these cases we have taken a strong stance against unfair and deceptive credit card practices,” said Attorney General Louie. Louie added that “These cases are important because they put the credit card industry on notice that it will be held accountable if it engages in misleading practices.”

Federal enforcement actions involving the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and private class action lawsuits have sought and are seeking restitution for Hawaii consumers. The proceeds from these settlements will go to the State General Fund.

The Hawaii Attorney General’s office worked with the law firms of Cronin, Fried, Sekiya, Kekina & Fairbanks; Baron and Budd; and Golomb & Honik on these cases.

Hawaii Missed Opportunities to Improve Drinking Water Infrastructure

Millions of dollars in federal funds intended for drinking water projects in Hawaii and four other states have sat unspent, according to a federal report.

The report, issued July 16, follows one in 2011 in which the EPA's OIG said the DWSRF program was not doing enough to find water systems that weren't compliant with regulations and could benefit from the program. The EPA provides the DWSRF funds to the states.  Click to view report

The report, issued July 16, follows one in 2011 in which the EPA’s OIG said the DWSRF program was not doing enough to find water systems that weren’t compliant with regulations and could benefit from the program. The EPA provides the DWSRF funds to the states. Click to view report

The Office of Inspector General for the Environmental Protection Agency said it found that five states reviewed — Missouri, California, Connecticut, Hawaii and New Mexico — have $231 million in unspent balances above the goal level in the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, which provides low-interest loans for cities, towns and local water districts to make drinking water infrastructure improvements.

We found that the EPA and the five states we reviewed took many actions to reduce DWSRF unliquidated balances, but those actions have not reduced DWSRF unliquidated balances to the goal of below 13 percent of the cumulative federal capitalization grants awarded.

For the period we examined the five states reviewed — California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Missouri and New Mexico — executed small numbers of loans each year and did not maximize the use of all DWSRF resources, including capitalization grant awards. State programs reviewed were not adequately projecting the DWSRF resources that would be available in the future to enable the states to anticipate the amount of projects needed to be ready for loan execution in a given year.

As a result, $231 million of capitalization grant funds remained idle, loans were not issued, and communities were not able to implement needed drinking water improvements.

We also noted that states’ project lists included in the capitalization grant application —called fundable lists —did not reflect projects that would be funded in the current year and overestimated the number of projects that will receive funding.

Less than one-third of the projects on the fundable lists we reviewed resulted in executed DWSRF loans during the current grant year.

We found that, generally, these states did not have a consistent “ready-to-proceed” definition.

When projects are not ready to proceed, expected environmental benefits are delayed.

Because states use the fundable lists to justify their annual capitalization grants, the fundable lists should communicate to the EPA and the public the projects that will be funded with taxpayer money.

Recommendations and Planned Corrective Actions

  • We recommend that the Assistant Administrator for Water require states with unliquidated obligations that exceed the Office of Water’s 13-percent-cutoff goal to project future cash flows to ensure funds are expended as efficiently as possible.
  • We also recommend that the Assistant Administrator develop guidance for states on what projects are to be included on the fundable lists and require regions, when reviewing capitalization grant applications, to ensure states are complying with the guidance.

The EPA agreed to take sufficient corrective actions on most of the recommendations.  The EPA still needs to take steps to ensure states have adopted the EPA’s guidance on the definition of “ready to proceed.

Lava Flow Advance Rate Increases

The June 27 flow front has advanced more rapidly over the past four days, and is now 4.2 km (2.6 miles) from the vent.

This recent increased advance rate is due to the confinement of the flow against the slopes of an older perched lava channel, from 2007.

This recent increased advance rate is due to the confinement of the flow against the slopes of an older perched lava channel, from 2007.

The advance rate will likely drop in the coming days as the flow passes the confines of the perched channel and spreads out on flatter topography.

Another view of the front of the June 27 flow, looking northeast.

Another view of the front of the June 27 flow, looking northeast.

The flow front has narrowed as it has been confined against the slopes of the 2007 perched lava channel, and this is associated with a higher advance rate of the flow front over the past four days.

View, looking southwest, of Puʻu ʻŌʻō and the new perched lava pond. Puʻu ʻŌʻō is the fume-filled crater in the top half of the image.

 This perched lava pond is now inactive, but the June 27 flows continue to advance towards the northeast (see other photos).

This perched lava pond is now inactive, but the June 27 flows continue to advance towards the northeast (see other photos).

The circular feature in the lower portion of the photograph is the perched lava pond active earlier this month, which was fed by the June 27 lava flow.

Visual-thermal comparison of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater, looking west. In the normal photograph on the left, large portions of the crater floor are obscured by thick volcanic fume.

The thermal image on the right can "see" through this fume, revealing features in the crater.

The thermal image on the right can “see” through this fume, revealing features in the crater.

Over the past month, a large portion of the crater floor has subsided. Within this triangular subsidence area, three small lava ponds were active today. Two are visible in this thermal image, while a third (near the South lava pond) is blocked by a steep wall from this angle.

Movies Show Explosions at Halemaumau

Movie from a webcam positioned on the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu, directly above the summit lava lake, showing the July 23 explosive event. The movie images were captured at 1 frame/second, and the playback speed is 12 frames/second.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/Rq-4vOSR1AI]

Movie from a webcam positioned in the observation tower at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, next to Jaggar Museum, near the summit of Kīlauea, showing the July 23 explosive event. The movie images were captured at 2 frame/second, and the playback speed is 12 frames/second.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/HJd5A2QryZM]

Skydiver Seriously Injured on North Shore – Pacific Skydive Has Another Incident

This afternoon at Pacific Skydive on the North Shore of Oahu, a man was was seriously injured skydiving, when the steering line on his canopy broke and he was not able to land properly.

Guy Banal, President at Pacific Skydiving

Guy Banal (sunglasses), President at Pacific Skydiving looks on.

The Emergency Medical Team and the Hawaii Fire Department are on the scene now:

Paramedics on the scene

Paramedics on the scene

A skydiver at the scene stated, “…Broken steering line on landing. Check your gear, especially if it is older, for degradation.

Tours and Film Share History of World War II Detention Site at Kīlauea Military Camp

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will offer guided tours of the former World War II detention camp site at Kīlauea Military Camp on Tuesday, July 29, and show the documentary, The Untold Story: Internment of Japanese Americans in Hawai‘i.

Drawing of KMC detention camp by Japanese-American Yoshio "George" Hoshida, courtesy of the Japanese National Museum

Drawing of KMC detention camp by Japanese-American Yoshio “George” Hoshida, courtesy of the Japanese National Museum

The tours and film are free, but park entrance fees apply.

The one-hour tour is at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., and will focus on the Japanese residents of Hawai‘i who were detained at Kīlauea Military Camp during World War II. No registration is required. Meet at the check-in area at Kīlauea Military Camp (KMC), near the flagpole. Park archeologist Dr. Jadelyn Moniz-Nakamura and archive technician Geoff Mowrer will lead the tours. Limited copies of the new National Park Service cultural resources report, A Silent Farewell, will be available.

Photo of the U.S. Army Signal Corps standing in formation in front of Building 34 at Kilauea Military Camp. Today, the building houses the U.S. Post Office, Crater Rim Cafe and Lava Lounge. NPS Photo Archives.

Photo of the U.S. Army Signal Corps standing in formation in front of Building 34 at Kilauea Military Camp. Today, the building houses the U.S. Post Office, Crater Rim Cafe and Lava Lounge. NPS Photo Archives.

At 1 p.m., the documentary The Untold Story: Internment of Japanese Americans in Hawai‘i, will be shown at the Lava Lounge, located adjacent to the post office at KMC. That evening, the park will show the film as part of its After Dark in the Park series at 7 p.m. in the Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium. Filmmaker Ryan Kawamoto and Carole Hayashino, president and director of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i, will present both showings of the documentary.

While the story of the 1942 mass round-up, eviction and imprisonment of Japanese Americans in California, Oregon and Washington has been well documented, very little is known about the Hawai‘i internees and their unique experience during World War II. This is the first full-length documentary to chronicle this untold story in Hawai‘i’s history.

Video – Simulated Mars Mission Complete

The HI-SEAS Crew 2 had a live Google Hangout event today when they returned to “Earth” from “Simulated Mars”.  They have been living in a Mars simulation located on Mauna Loa for the past 120 days.

HI-Seas photo by Angelo Vermeulen

HI-Seas photo by Angelo Vermeulen

Here is the video:
[youtube=http://youtu.be/YvUIh2Y8fns]

Rockfall Triggers Explosive Event at Halema’uma’u

Just after 10 AM this morning, the southeastern wall of the Overlook crater, in Halemaʻumaʻu, collapsed and fell into the summit lava lake.

This image is a still taken from the webcam positioned on the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu at that location, showing spatter in the air directly in front of the camera.

This image is a still taken from the webcam positioned on the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu at that location, showing spatter in the air directly in front of the camera.

This triggered a small explosive event that threw spatter bombs onto the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu at the site of the tourist overlook, closed since 2008.

The lava fragments ejected ranged in size from dust-sized particles up to spatter bombs about 70 cm (~30 inches) across.

The larger clasts – the bombs – dotted the ground around the tourist overlook and webcam, giving the area a look reminiscent of a cow pasture.

The larger clasts – the bombs – dotted the ground around the tourist overlook and webcam, giving the area a look reminiscent of a cow pasture.

As has been seen with almost all previous explosive events at Halemaʻumaʻu since 2008, the spatter that was ejected was coated in dust and filled with small lithic fragments – clear evidence of the involvement of lithic wall rock.

The knife is 12 cm (4.5 in) long.

The knife is 12 cm (4.5 in) long.

Spatter landed on wooden fencing laying on the ground at the closed tourist overlook, igniting it in a few places.

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The part of the Overlook crater wall that collapsed is evident in the center of this photo by its white color.

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Meet Lava – Hawaii’s Tweeting Two-Colored-Faced Cat

Ok… well every once in a while I come across something pretty strange.  Tonight I think I out did myself.  Meet “Lava” the Tweeting Two-Colored-Face Cat from Honolulu, Hawaii:

Lava's Twitter "Profile" picture

Lava’s Twitter “Profile” picture

Lava tweets about everything a normal cat would… things like the thing she tweeted today:
Lava Tweet 1Lava bills herself as a “Hot Hawaiian Adventure Cat” and seems to live quite the lifestyle:
Lava Tweet 2The owner of the cat said that she named her “Lava” because she looked like lava pouring.  You can check out her entire series of tweets here @ohmylava.

Her first tweets were on Valentines day.

Her first tweets were on Valentines day.

She is only followed by 54 folks at this time… but I expect her to soon beat out Justin Bieber for followers… LOL!

Hawaii Volcanoes Observatory Reports New Crater at Puʻu ʻŌʻō

New crater at Puʻu ʻŌʻō

The "June 27 breakout" flow starts near the left side of the photo, marked by thin bluish fume.

The “June 27 breakout” flow starts near the left side of the photo, marked by thin bluish fume.  The view is toward the east.

Since the onset of the “June 27 breakout” flow, the central part of Puʻu ʻŌʻō’s crater has been collapsing slowly. Thick fume and steam prevented good views, but this photo shows the edge of the ring fracture that bounds the collapse. The heavy fume comes from pits that formed where spatter cones used to be.

Perhaps the most interesting feature in the new crater at Puʻu ʻŌʻō is the pit formed on the southern side of the crater floor.

View to the East

View is to the south

There, a small lava pond roughly 10 m (~30 ft) across has been sporadically overflowing and sending lava toward the deeper central part of the crater.

Inactive perched lava pond and the new lava tube

After the June 27 breakout started, a perched lava pond – looking something like a giant above-ground swimming pool – grew over the main vent.

The view is toward the southeast

The view is toward the southeast

Notice the nearly flat upper surface of the now-inactive pond just above and to the left of center, and the relatively steep levee which contained the pond. The pond was abandoned after lava broke from a new spot near the west edge of the pond. That flow has begun constructing a lava tube, its trace marked by the fume to the right of the perched pond.

Here is steeper view of the inactive lava pond, just left of center. After it was abandoned, its surface crusted over and sagged to form a gentle bowl.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō is at upper right. The view is toward the south-southeast.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō is at upper right. The view is toward the south-southeast.

Skylights and points of fume just right of center mark the trace of the new tube.

Terminus of new flow near Kahaualeʻa

View is toward the southwest, and Puʻu ʻŌʻō is at upper right.

View is toward the southwest, and Puʻu ʻŌʻō is at upper right.

The front of the “June 27 breakout” flow, seen here as the silvery lava at lower right, is about 2.0 km (~1.2 miles) northeast from its vent (as measured in a straight line), and surrounds what little remains of Puʻu Kahaualeʻa, a forested cone several hundred years old.
Here is a closer view showing the beleaguered Puʻu Kahaualeʻa surrounded by active Pāhoehoe flows.
The view is to the northwest

The view is to the northwest

Lizard Talk at Lyman Museum

Among the many immigrants to reach Hawaiian shores are certain members of the reptilian Order Squamata (which includes lizards and snakes).  A variety of lizards have arrived with people through the years and made their homes in Hawai`i.  In addition to the several species of geckos which most of us here know well, and which have been in the Islands the longest, there are species of skinks, anoles, iguanas, and chameleons that have also established themselves as colonists.

My dog freaking out on a Jackson Chameleon

My dog freaking out on a Jackson Chameleon

On Monday, August 25, 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at the Lyman Museum, Dr. William Mautz pulls back the foliage to look at these special creatures: their habits and habitats, how and when they came to Hawai`i, and prospects for a future in which other immigrant lizards may gain a toehold.  Dr. Mautz is a professor of biology at UH-Hilo, where he teaches and conducts research on the physiology and ecology of amphibians and reptiles.

The nationally accredited and Smithsonian-affiliated Lyman Museum showcases the natural and cultural history of Hawai`i.  Located in historic downtown Hilo at 276 Haili Street, the Museum is open Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  For more information, call (808) 935-5021 or visit www.lymanmuseum.org.