A recent response to a Uniform Information Practices Act request found that the Hawaii State Department of Education is withholding information regarding high levels of PCBs from parents of school children attending the Makalapa Elementary School in Salt Lake, Honolulu, Hawaii.

This discovery was made by workers from GasCo who were digging to repair a gas line on the Makalapa campus playground. Initially, the materials from the excavation were left lying on the surface, potentially directly exposing the children while they played and also as some of them walked on the pedestrian walkway located in the area.

We posted information earlier describing the condition of the campus where we found large amounts of broken glass strewn over the playground, and expressed our concerns with the threat the presence of the material posed to the children.

The vice-principal confirms our discovery of glass on the ground, but the Navy denies it after their discussion. See the following statements and pictures. You make the call.

Some of the documents show that "former Vice-Principal Carole Ichiyama shared information on a 'jewel' area between the picnic table and tree. Students often find pieces of broken glass on the surface. Navy will visit the area and provide recommendations. May need to place soil cover over area."


We don't know what this piece of metal is attached to  


Documents also show Mr. J. Kotoshirodo, a United States Navy employee, "visited area on 6/29 and saw only 2 pieces of glass that looked to be recent debris: typically the glass associated with historic debris at RHS (Radford High School) field/track was melted/weathered glass. Also, no metal debris observed. Since chemical data in soil samples show surface material is safe, Navy recommendation no immediate action needed at this time, pending further Navy DOE coordination longer-term solution and possible soil/grass cover." DOH HEER office provided email concurrence on this recommendation.

Because of this inadvertent discovery at the Makalapa site, the State Health Department issued a letter to the Facilities Development Branch of the Department of Education advising that "no subsurface/intrusive work should be done at or near the Athletic Field/Track until an Environmental Hazard Management Plan (EHMP) has been submitted and approved. The Department of Education (DOE) is responsible for ensuring that all parties and entities who may perform work in the area described above be advised of this determination and instructed not to perform work until the EHMP is completed." We've learned, because of this order, an ADA-compliant sidewalk cannot be installed. As of today, no EHMP has been provided to the DOH.


Link to our story on HawaiiNewsNow