EPA to Aid in Molasses Spill Response

September 13, 2013, 7:28 AM HST · Updated September 13, 7:30 AM
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By Wendy Osher

The US Environmental Protection Agency is sending two on-scene coordinators to Oʻahu to assist the state in its response to the more than 200,000 gallon molasses spill that has killed off fish and marine life in parts of Honolulu Harbor and Keʻehi Lagoon.

The announcement of federal assistance was made today by US Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaiʻi, who said through coordination, damage to natural resources, marine life, and businesses can be minimized.

Sen. Schatz called the situation a serious one, saying it requires a coordinated and aggressive response at all levels of government.

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According to Sen. Schatz, the EPA personnel have expertise in spill response and plan to meet with State officials and other federal agencies involved with addressing the spill shortly after their arrival.

“Pending an on-site assessment, EPA may recommend a technique known as “air curtains” to protect particularly sensitive affected areas. This technique uses long tubes to oxygenate water and help disperse and break down contaminants,” according to information released by Sen. Schatz.

Governor Neil Abercrombie meantime, released a statement on Thursday afternoon to elaborate on the state’s response to the molasses spill.

“The emergency response programs of the Department of Health, the aquatic resources division of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, and the Department of Transportation Harbors staff are working as a team to respond to this spill, reduce its impact and protect the health of our people,” said Gov. Abercrombie.

The governor continued saying, “Matson accepts responsibility for the spill and is working directly with the state and federal agencies to respond to this unprecedented event.  My administration will do everything needed to restore harbor channel waters to the highest quality and take all appropriate action to ensure that such a spill will not reoccur.”

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