KEKAHA — Asbestos abatement and disassembly of the former Kekaha Sugar Mill is scheduled to start in July with work expected to take about six months, states a release from Kekaha MS, the property owner.
During the asbestos abatement and demolition work, contractors and owners of the mill will conduct monthly community meetings to update residents on the project as outlined during a Kekaha community meeting held in September 2011.
Additionally, the work will be regularly updated on a website and a phone number will be made available for questions residents may have.
NCM Contracting Group, currently working on decommissioning the Lihu‘e Sugar Mill, will start bringing equipment to the Kekaha Mill site during the week of July 2 with asbestos abatement operations scheduled to start the week of July 9.
Currently, NCM Contracting is scheduled to complete the Lihu‘e Mill asbestos abatement work by the end of June and will begin full demolition work in July with more than 90 percent of the materials removed from the site being recycled.
Materials containing asbestos are being taken off-island and according to Jim Willard, the NCM project manager for asbestos abatement, about 88 tons of materials have been removed.
The amount at Kekaha, a smaller facility than the Lihu‘e Mill, is expected to be less.
All of the asbestos work is being done according to industry standards and under the guidance of the state Department of Health, the release states.
During removal, work sites are entirely tented in plastic and kept under negative pressure to prevent releases. All of the asbestos materials are wet down before being removed to eliminate dust.
Additionally, air quality sensors will be established around the mill and monitored to test the air and identify any potential problems.
To minimize the impacts on the neighborhood there will be no night work.
During the Lihu‘e decommissioning process, the contractors and owners have held monthly community meetings to update residents on the progress of the project.
This will continue for the Kekaha project with the first meeting to start July 30 at the Kekaha Neighborhood Center from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Notifications of each of the community meetings will be published in The Garden Island newspaper.
Real-time information will be posted at www.sterlingsystems.biz/hawaii.html, the same website used for the Lihu‘e Mill decommissioning project.
The hotline telephone number is (808) 635-5861. The line is checked each day and calls returned the following day.
Additionally, the contractor will maintain two signs at the Kekaha Mill site — one with contact information including the hotline and the website and the other with air quality monitoring results.
• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.