EP&R Section: Spill and Emergency Response

The HEER Office EP&R is responsible for planning, preparing for, and responding to hazardous substance releases that may cause immediate and substantial threats to human health or the environment.

The EP&R Section has authority given in the Environmental Response Law (HRS 128D) and the State Contingency Plan (HAR 11-451) to provide for or coordinate timely and effective hazardous substance release response. Emergency preparedness training exercises for emergency response actions are also a primary focus of the HEER Office EP&R Section. The EP&R Section works closely with individual county hazmat, fire, and police personnel as well as other federal, state, and county agencies to help strengthen the state’s ability to respond to hazardous substance release emergencies.

An emergency situation exists if there is a release, or threat of a release, of a hazardous substance that may pose an imminent and substantial danger to human health and the environment. Most commonly, the HEER Office and/or County Hazmat/Fire Department will determine if an emergency situation exists; however, in some cases, such as sites under federal jurisdiction, other agencies (e.g., U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Department of Defense) will make the determination that an emergency exists.

The EP&R staff cover calls related to hazardous substance releases 24 hours a day, and initiate actions to provide appropriate state resources for emergency response actions. The EP&R staff can be contacted at the numbers below:

Telephone (Business Hours): (808) 586-4249

Fax: (808) 586-7537

Telephone (After Hours): (808) 236-8200

*This may involve referrals and support to county, state and federal agencies involved in emergency response actions, as well as assignments to a private contractor to assist in emergency response cleanups.

  • County first responders may transfer a site to the HEER Office EP&R Section after the emergency situation is stabilized, if necessary for further evaluation and action.
  • EP&R staff may issue responsible parties (or potentially responsible parties) for hazardous substance releases one or more of several types of letters as part of the response process to help ensure appropriate cleanup is accomplished, necessary reports are provided, and/or to establish responsibility for cost recovery of state resources expended in the cleanup. These letters include:
    • Failure to Notify – for a reportable quantity release
    • Notice of Interest in a Release or Threatened Release – used to request follow-up information or action on a specific site.
    • Notice of Improper Response Action in a Release or Threatened Release – used to inform responsible party that appropriate action has not yet been completed, and to request action be completed.
    • Notice of Undertaking in a Release or Threatened Release – used to inform the responsible party the state is conducting or involved in the response action due to the urgency of the situation or lack of previous appropriate response, and as applicable, cost recovery for the state’s actions will be sought.
      *In some cases, the potentially responsible party may already be conducting an emergency response at the time of release notification. In some cases the emergency response cleanup is performed without delay, perhaps at state expense, and details of responsibility and cost reimbursement are worked out after the incident has been appropriately handled or stabilized.