By Denise Emsley, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Hawaii Public Affairs
PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii (NNS) -- Navy and contractor subject matter experts along with representatives from the Hawaii Departments of Health and Education, spoke with Radford High School, Makalapa Elementary School and Navy Hale Keiki school parents and at an informational meeting held August 28 in the high school cafeteria. The purpose of the gathering was to discuss remediation actions at Radford's track and field which began August 25.
"We wanted to reach out to the community directly impacted by this remediation project with as much detail as possible so they would understand that we are looking out for the safety and well-being of everyone that may be affected, site workers, teachers, students, family members and the public," said NAVFAC Hawaii Environmental Director Aaron Poentis. "This project is complex and our goal is to ensure everything is done properly and thoroughly the first time."
The open house meeting was held for two hours and provided an opportunity where attendees could learn about what had occurred since initial discovery and reporting to the Navy in late January and the work and timeline for this fall.
Various poster boards describing the remediation project were accompanied by subject matter experts to assist attendees understanding of the remediation process in a one-on-one environment.
"The whole point of this meeting was to provide as much information as possible so that everyone is informed, comfortable with our actions and to answer as many questions as possible," said Poentis.
In December 2013 the State of Hawaii Department of Education (DOE) encountered buried debris during excavation work to replace the high school's cinder running track with a synthetic track. The Navy was informed of the discovery of the debris in January 2014. Since then, the DOE, Hawaii State Department of Health and the Navy have coordinated remediation action for the track and field.
The Navy received right of entry paperwork from the City and County of Honolulu on August 25 granting Navy access to the Radford property and immediately began preparations such as coordinating equipment to be moved to the site, securing the remediation area and initiating work to establish a temporary access road behind Navy Hale Keiki School next to the H-1 Freeway that will exit onto Bougainville Boulevard. This temporary road will provide a safe path for trucks that will leave the track and field area, avoiding the main entrance road into Radford High School and Makalapa Elementary School off Salt Lake Boulevard. The access road will also be protective of students at Navy Hale Keiki School.
Excavation efforts at the track and field will began in early September and continue into October. During this time, contaminated soil and debris will be screened and properly disposed of at an appropriate permitted disposal facility. The track area will be excavated to a depth of approximately 1 foot beyond where the DOE construction project intended to excavate. A geo-fabric barrier will be placed followed by clean soil. This action will protect construction workers from exposure while the track resurfacing is completed.
Although the football field surface is free from contamination, the Navy will remove approximately 1 foot of clean soil and 1-3 feet of contaminated soil to a depth that irrigation or utilities may be placed. Then a geo-fabric barrier will be placed, followed by clean soil to prevent exposure to buried debris during future maintenance or renovations. In November the Navy will work with DOE to shape the football field with their design.
All track and field debris will be screened for any possible munitions type debris. This action results from two items that were found on the excavated track site. One was seen in January (a small projectile fuze) and another in April (a few empty small arms ammunition cartridge casings. In addition to these two items, and a photograph of an empty and cut 5 inch projectile cartridge base was provided by the DOE construction contractor. Certified personnel will ensure any potential explosive hazards are safely addressed.
"During remediation, the site will be secured with established safety exclusion zones," said Poentis, "and we have plans in place to ensure all students may continue to attend classes at Radford High School, Makalapa Elementary School and Navy Hale Keiki School."
The Navy expects to complete remediation of the track and field by the end of November so that the DOE's construction contractor will be able to install a new irrigation system for the football field and complete the resurfacing of the track. The last action for the Navy will be to place new sod on the field in late spring following DOE grassing requirements in time to meet the 2015 football schedule.