For Immediate Release
August 23, 2019
(Honolulu, HI) – Beginning in September 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will begin work to remove soil underneath some parts of Factory Street between King Street and Waterhouse Street.
The State of Hawaiʻi requested that the EPA complete this work to address high levels of lead found in the soil under Factory Street in Kalihi. The EPA plans to remove the lead-contaminated soil, bring in clean fill and repave the parts of the street impacted by the project.
According to the EPA, “the contaminated soil is from the historical commercial activities in the area.” The street is not in great condition, and ownership of the road remains in question. If the street continues to degrade, people may become more exposed to dangerous levels of lead.
Jacob Aki, a candidate for the Honolulu City Council – District VII seat and a member of the Kalihi-Pālama Neighborhood Board #15 is grateful that the EPA will begin work to remove the lead contaminated soil, but he expresses other major concerns for the area.
“Joint investigations done by the State Department of Health and the EPA in the 1990’s showed that higher than normal levels of lead were also detected near King Street, Kopke Street, Waterhouse Street and as far as Stanley Street,” said Aki. “This is concerning to me because many residents continue to live and work in these contaminated areas.”
Aki believes that the lead contamination on Factory Street is one-part of the many issues that the area faces in regard to zoning and jurisdiction of roadways.
“That part of the district near Factory Street is zoned for industrial, community and business mixed use, but the area continues to be primarily residential. As we plan for the future of Kalihi, possible rezoning needs to be a part of those conversations,” said Aki. “I strongly urge the State and City to come to some sort of agreement regarding the land status and jurisdiction of Factory Street and other nearby roads in question. Proper maintenance of these roadways is needed to prevent further environmental damage and ensure public safety.”