Hawaii Department of Health Investigated Chemical Spill in Aiea

Posted in: United States Water News, Water Contamination, Water quality
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Article courtesy of Hawaii News Now | May 17, 2015 | Hawaii News Now | Shared as educational material

AIEA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) today removed the warning signs that were posted on Friday, May 15 at a drainage ditch near the bike path at Hekaha Street in Aiea. Warning signs were posted due to evidence of a contained chemical spill that occurred in the area killing more than 600 fish. Dead fish including tilapia and guppies were removed by crews coordinated by DOH.

On May 12, Department of Health’s Clean Water Branch received the report of a fish kill and milky-white discolored water with a strong “cleaning agent” like scent lingering in the affected area in Aiea. Staff from the department’s Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response Office and Clean Water Branch conducted an on-site inspection and took water samples for testing. Results indicated lower than normal PH levels in the water suggesting contamination from an acidic compound which could include cleaning solvents or solutions.

During the department’s investigation, the owner of the ditch, the US Navy, was notified of the situation by the DOH. The source of the spill has been confirmed as a nearby business, MOC Hawaii located in Aiea. MOC Hawaii reported that on May 11, the company accidentally spilled about 70 gallons of an industrial cleaner into a storm drain inlet that drains to the Aiea ditch. The company is cooperating with the department’s investigation.

Water samples taken today show PH levels in the water have returned to normal. DOH will continue to investigate the spill and determine any further enforcement action. Clean water violations may carry penalties of up to $25,000 per day per violation. The public is reminded that storm drains connect to our streams and ocean and proper disposal of all chemicals protects our environment and waters.

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