EPA provides funds for Anahola cleanup

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has provided $15,000 for consulting services for a debris cleanup project in Anahola.

The funds will support the cleanup of a 17-acre site in Anahola where Hawaiian community leaders have plans to develop a $16 million cultural and business center.

Plans for the site have been worked on for several years by the Anahola Homesteaders Council, led by Hawaiian community leader, businessman and farmer James Torio and others.

The group plans to transform the site into cultural-business center, dubbed Project Faith. The center would help preserve the Hawaiian culture and allow Hawaiians to become economically self-sufficient, according to organizers working on the plan.

The EPA funds are helping move the plan ahead.

The funds for the consulting services is part of the EPA’s Brownfields Economic Development Initiative, a nationwide project to revitalize properties with environmental contamination.

A “green building expert” will help the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism carry out the cleanup project.

The 17-acre site is a former sugar field in Anahola managed by the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. It is littered with automobiles, tires, appliances, batteries and other household goods.

The site is also is believed to contain pesticides from cane cultivation and petroleum products that leeched into the ground from abandoned vehicles.

“It makes sense to construct and showcase green buildings that are energy efficient and save resources simultaneously with redevelopment,” Jeff Scott, EPA’s director for waste management for the Pacific southwest region, said in a news release.

The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism will assess the site and develop cleanup plans for DHHL and the state Department of Health, the EPA said.

DOH consultants are to begin a “site assessment” this fall, with work to be completed by next spring, the EPA said.

The actual cleanup, presumably to be done by a contractor and with other funds, is scheduled for the winter of 2003, the EPA said.

Previously, through the same Brownfields project, the EPA awarded the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism parts of a $200,000 grant for an environmental study for the 17-acre Kaua’i site. Other funds were used for four other sites on O’ahu.

The EPA study opened the way for the council to tap into millions of dollars in grants or low-interest loans from federal agencies or organizations to clean up the site and to develop the center, dubbed Project Faith, project supporters have said.

The project is aimed at creating jobs, furthering Hawaiian entrepreneurship and providing facilities for education and training, housing for kupuna (the elderly) healthcare, human services, recreation and businesses.

The EPA said local building materials could be used for the Anahola project, including recycled building materials from the Kauai Habitat for Humanity and other sources, along with the use of non-toxic finishes and materials.

The cleanup of the Kaua’i property is part of an effort by EPA to promote construction of “environmentally friendly buildings.”

Last month, EPA launched “green building” projects in eight states, including the one for Kaua’i.

The Brownfields projects help preserve energy, water and materials and create healthy indoor and outdoor environments, the EPA said.

The projects can include residential, commercial, institutional and industrial buildings and remodeling of existing buildings, the EPA said.


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