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EPA Announces Results from Pioneer Mill Sampling

Release Date: 6/9/2003
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi (808) 541-2711

Results Show Limited Arsenic and Lead Contamination at Lahaina Site
     The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced results of soil sampling at the Pioneer Mill site in Lahaina, Maui that show only two areas of elevated levels of arsenic and lead that pose no immediate risk to area residents and the environment.

     The sampling shows only one area where levels of arsenic are significantly above background. Arsenic levels at the one location at the western area of the property are at 104 parts per million, while background levels of arsenic collected by the EPA's contractors are at approximately 3 ppm.  

     The EPA found higher then normal lead levels in two samples at a storage area near the tractor and welding area, with the highest level at 1420 ppm. The EPA's contractors found background levels of lead at approximately 57 ppm.

     The EPA recommended that plastic sheeting be placed over the contaminated soil and on fencing near the two areas so the soil does not get offsite. The contaminated soils will be removed after more sampling of the areas containing high levels of arsenic and lead are done to determine the extent of contamination.

     "We are pleased that the sampling results show limited contamination of the Pioneer Mill site," said Dana Barton, a Superfund project manager for EPA's Pacific Southwest region. "The task at hand will be to identify the extent of the contamination and move toward cleanup of the arsenic and lead."

     Chlorinated herbicides, pesticides, and other chemicals associated with sugarcane and wood-treating activities such as mercury, chromium, polychlorinated biphenals and volitile organic compounds, were at very low levels or not detected. The levels of herbicides and pesticides are significantly below what would warrant health concerns and none of the chemicals were found outside of the Pioneer Mill site. The EPA is recommending additional sampling for herbicides and pesticides to be conducted at the mill's mixing and loading area.

     The Hawai'i Department of Health will be the lead agency for further evaluation and oversight of any cleanup. The EPA will continue to support the Department of Health in its effort to ensure the Pioneer Mill site is properly cleaned up and made safe for residents and those who may use the property in the future.  

     EPA and state officials will be holding a public meeting at the Lahaina Civic Center from 7 to 9 p.m. on June 10 to discuss the results of the sampling and discuss next steps for the site with area residents.                         #          #          #