HEER Office response to Hanalei River Heritage Foundation concerns

Posted on May 1, 2012 in All, Press Coverage

The HEER Office is providing the following information in response to a 4/30/2012 Honolulu Star-Advertiser article (“Biologist: Hanalei river, bay should be tested”):

The concentrations of arsenic, barium, chromium and lead reported by Hanalei River Heritage Foundation are within anticipated natural background levels for the volcanic soils and related sediments of the Hawaiian Islands. The metals are naturally occurring, are tightly bound within minerals in the soil and are not toxic to humans or wildlife. The terrestrial and aquatic flora and fauna of Kaua‘i have lived with these metals since the island was created millions of years ago. They are similar to levels of metals in soil that would be found anywhere on the islands as well as much of the world, and are not related to manmade pollution. This is well-documented in numerous reports over the past several decades, and summarized in the recent draft report Hawaiian Islands Soil Metal Background Evaluation Report prepared for the HEER Office. Hanalei River Heritage Foundation incorrectly compared the sediment (mud) data to regulatory standards for drinking water. These are completely unrelated standards and are not applicable to metals in soil or sediment.

If you need more information or have any questions, please contact Fenix Grange, supervisor of the HEER Office’s Site Discovery, Assessment, and Response Section at (808) 586-4249.