Washing the white away

LIHUE — State officials say the company that accidentally spilled about 75 gallons of paint on the Bryan J. Baptiste Memorial Bridge and snarled traffic on Kuhio Highway for several hours on Wednesday must pay to clean it up.

State Department of Transportation spokesman Derek Inoshita said officials are “in contact with Puhi Nani Pools and they will be held responsible for any necessary cleanup or repainting and all associated costs.”

“There was no structural damage to the bridge, so only the paint needs to be addressed,” Inoshita wrote in an email. “There’s no cost estimate yet, but our Highways Division will be coordinating with them to ensure the work is done in a timely fashion.”

Ron Garlie, owner of Puhi Paint, said the paint was purchased by a customer and was being delivered to a job site when the buckets of paint in the back of a Puni Nani Pools-owned truck shifted on a sharp turn in the North-Shore bound direction of Kuhio Highway while approaching the Bryan J. Baptiste Memorial Bridge.

“Once the buckets started falling off the truck, they all fell out,” Garlie said by phone on Friday. “Several of them opened up, which created a little, big mess, and the rest of them are covered in paint but are still in good shape. All of those that didn’t open up were brought out of the mess and delivered to the job site today.”

After the single-vehicle accident, Garlie said he and Puni Nani Pools employees cleaned up the nearly 16 pails of paint that spilled on the two-lane highway. One of the North Shore-bound lanes of the roads were closed for five hours after the accident.

The company said more work will be done to ensure the white color goes away, but didn’t have an estimate on how much it will cost.

“Our goal at the time was just to get the lanes open and the traffic moving, so hundred of gallons of sand were poured into the wet paint to soak up any wet paint that was there,” Garlie said. “That was all scooped up into bucked and hauled away. If you go through there now, it looks like something happened, but most of it has been cleaned up and is business as usual.”

State Department of Health officials said that none of the water-based paint made its way into the Wailua River.

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