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Hundreds of thousands of acres in Hawai’i have been, at one time or another, under the control of the armed forces in Hawai’i. What is not so well known is what the military has done with that land.
Or, to put it another way, has past use of the land rendered it unfit for any future use, even when the military has no further need of it?
Charged with administering the FUDS program is the Army Corps of Engineers.
Responsibility for clean-up at existing installations falls to the services using them.
The question is especially pertinent inasmuch as pressures of growth make it likely that lands formerly controlled by the military will be targeted for development.
In fact, this has already begun to occur, with predictable consequences.
The DERP report for fiscal 1990 (delivered to Congress in February 1991) identifies 235 contaminated sites at 46 separate installations in the Hawai’i area.Sites with ordnance are last on the Corps’ list of cleanup priorities, she said.In a line before that are sites with hazardous and toxic waste and those with unsafe debris that poses an immediate threat to public safety or health.(In fact, this is almost a tautology: Only after a preliminary assessment is done does a facility make it onto the list of contaminated sites.) The next step in cleaning up contaminated sites is preparation of a site investigation report.A total of 156 of the 235 sites have made it to this stage.
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Land that the Navy wanted to turn over to the state or the City and County of Honolulu for use as possible low-cost housing (in the Manana area) turned out to be contaminated by chemicals the Navy had stored on the site over they years.