Public comment sought for cleanup action at former quarry firing range site

  • Photo of the former quarry firing range looking down at the area from the higher ground above the former firing range. The dark green vegetation on the left is non-native grass on the backstop area. The lighter green vegetation and bare soil visible between the trees is the floor of the former firing range. Courtesy of HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK

The National Park Service is seeking public comment on an engineering evaluation/cost analysis for the selection of a non-time critical cleanup action at the former quarry firing range site in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

The cleanup will address surface soils impacted with heavy metals at the site. The park service seeks to inform the public of the availability of the EE/CA document through Dec. 1 at the park’s headquarters at 1 Crater Rim Drive, and to encourage public review and comment on the document before the NPS finalizes a decision.

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Investigations were conducted at the site from 2013-17. Results indicate that bullets and bullet fragments were observed within the thin layer of soil surrounding the former backstop, firing line/lanes and other related areas. Lead, antimony and copper were determined to be contaminants of potential concern. Potential human receptors include site workers and recreational users; potential ecological receptors include plants, soil invertebrates, birds and mammals, including several protected wildlife species: the Hawaiian hoary bat, Hawaiian goose, Hawaiian short-eared owl and Hawaiian hawk.

The site is located on the southeast flank of Mauna Loa volcano, about 10 miles south of park headquarters. It is situated in an abandoned quarry about 260 feet west of Highway 11. Use of the former quarry as a firing range reportedly began in 1940; the site was used in this capacity until 1982.

The non-time critical removal action is expected to address risks to human health and the environment and eliminate the need for further cleanup actions at the site. Additional documents will be added to the administrative record file as work at the site proceeds.

The EE/CA report and all other documents are available at park headquarters. An appointment is necessary to view them. Hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call 985-6073 to make an appointment or for more information.

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The executive summary of the EE/CA and the community involvement plan are available online at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?parkId=307&projectID=92898.

Comments on the EE/CA can be submitted electronically at the website listed. Comments also can be submitted in writing to Danielle Foster, Environmental Protection Specialist, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, PO Box 52, Hawaii National Park, HI 96718 or via email to danielle_foster@nps.gov.

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