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EPA fines Hawaii Gas

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 02:53 p.m. HST, Jun 11, 2014

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has fined Hawaii Gas $155,000 for violations of risk management plan regulations and chemical release reporting involving its Kapolei facility.

The fine represents a settlement between the EPA and the company.

The Kapolei facility manufactures synthetic natural gas for its Oahu customers and was found to be in violation during a January 2012 audit of five years' worth of records, according to an EPA statement.

Inspectors found that the facility released 3,585 pounds of sodium hydroxide, also known as caustic soda, or lye. While the release was reported to state and local officials, Hawaii Gas also was required to report it to the federal National Response Center since the amount exceeded 1,000 pounds.

No health or environmental impacts resulted from the release, made to an underground injection well, the EPA said.

"Risk management plans are critical components of safety programs designed to prevent chemical accidents," said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA's regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest. "They must be carried out diligently to protect workers, nearby residents and the local environment."

Hawaii Gas spokeswoman Jill Tokunaga said Wednesday that the company takes workplace and environmental health and safety "very seriously."

"It is an important priority for us," she said. "We take responsibility for any violations that have occurred, and have worked cooperatively with the EPA to immediately address any issues with environmental compliance and we are now in full compliance. At no point was there any threat to the safety of the public or our employees."

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bobstr wrote:
While the release was repaired to state and local officials, since the amount exceeded 1,000 pounds, it should also have been reported to the federal National Response Center. Hmmm, how do you repair it to the state???
on June 11,2014 | 10:54AM
KaneoheSJ wrote:
You can already figure out that the cost is going to be passed on to the consumers.
on June 11,2014 | 11:11AM
808comp wrote:
For sure.
on June 11,2014 | 08:15PM
Freedive wrote:
"No health or environmental impacts resulted from the release, made to an underground injection well, the EPA announced". Are they absolutely sure about this?? Who is making sure that forcibly injecting 2.5 Tons of caustic soda underground will not affect our current/future water supplies? Most of Oahu's fresh water is supplied by a single fresh water lens floating on salt water underground called the "Ghyben-Herzberg Lens". Someone better look into this ASAP.
on June 11,2014 | 11:32AM
GeoDiva wrote:
That well is most likely makai of the UIC line that separates groundwater identified as a drinking water source from a non-drinking water source. The groundwater in that location has too high salinity levels to be used as drinking water.
on June 11,2014 | 04:54PM
localguy wrote:
Uhhh, didn't you understand the part about EPS = Environmental Protection Agency? Apparently not.
on June 11,2014 | 11:16PM
frontman wrote:
Come on Barry, we passed you as a bra, wink...wink, now you do this to Hawaii.
on June 11,2014 | 02:33PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Need contributions to the Malia and Sasha Foundation for Graduation from Harvard University
on June 11,2014 | 04:43PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
We already knew The Gas Company is run by some people who could not get good jobs on good companies. We paid our bill, then got mailed for the services that we already paid. Sounds like the left hand does not know what the ring hand is doing. AND, where there's smoke there's fire.
on June 11,2014 | 04:42PM
ainaboy wrote:
Thanks Goodness Mark Glick, who is the head of the state's energy office, is the reason why the Guv is pursuing natural gas as a future fuel for Hawaii. It's all good.
on June 11,2014 | 06:17PM
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