HONOLULU – Coast Guard officials say the Molasses Release Honolulu Harbor Incident Command Post concluded response operations, Friday.
Water samples taken by the incident command Friday indicated oxygen levels in Honolulu Harbor and Keehi Lagoon are returning to normal. No molasses was observed during a helicopter overflight Friday.
Based on the findings from the incident command, the Department of Health has recommended that signs warning the public to stay out of affected areas be removed. The Department of Land and Natural Resources will open Keehi Lagoon Saturday for recreational use.
Emergency response activities will now transition to the recovery and restoration phase led by the Department of Land and Natural Resources. With this transition, the Joint Information Center will close Friday. Media and public calls should be directed to the appropriate state or federal agencies.
HONOLULU – Divers completed a survey of Honolulu Harbor in the immediate vicinity of the initial release and found no visible evidence of molasses, Tuesday.
The dive survey covered an area on the bottom of the harbor of approximately 200 feet surrounding the source of the initial spill. The diver investigated the areas under the pier around the pilings and along the seabed out into the harbor.
“The seabed under the wharf and into the channel was observed to be in normal condition, with no pools or visual evidence of molasses,” Kevin Foster, U.S. Fish and Wildlife marine ecology specialist. “The consensus was that the molasses is no longer in the area.”
The dive included a live video feed to the surface where representatives from the Department of Land and Natural Resources and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service directed and observed the nearly two hour survey.
Water quality appears to be returning to normal visual conditions. Water sampling and testing continues in the harbor and Keehi Lagoon.
HONOLULU — The Hawaii Department of Health has implemented an incident command system to further organize the response to the molasses spill in Honolulu Harbor last week.
An incident command post has been established at the Clean Islands Council facility near Sand Island. The incident command is comprised of representatives from the Hawaii Department of Health, Department of Land and Natural Resources, Department of Transportation, Matson, Coast Guard, Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The incident command has drafted and approved an incident action plan which outlines key objectives of the response and provides clear direction to all participants.
“The organization of all the federal, state and local agencies utilizing the incident command system is a major step in ensuring a single and focused effort to the issue at hand,” said Keith Kawaoka, the incident commander. “Each agency has brought in its most experienced staff from around the country and I am confident they will work together to develop appropriate solutions to the problem.”
The Incident Command System brings a common operating language to a multi-agency response for incidents that occurred. The Department of Health remains the lead agency for the state but works in close coordination and cooperation with all the state and federal agencies involved.
HONOLULU – Coast Guard Sector Honolulu received an official request Friday from the Hawaii Department of Health to assist with the response to the molasses spill in Honolulu Harbor.
“The Coast Guard is prepared to bring all the requested resources to this incident to support our state and local partner agencies” said Capt. Shannon Gilreath, captain of the port Honolulu. “We have been working closely with state partners since the spill occurred to offer advice and resources. This official request is the next step in our joint response to this incident.”
The Coast Guard began supporting the response Monday morning when investigators from Sector Honolulu responded to a report of discolored water in the harbor. Since then, the Coast Guard has held daily meetings with the lead State agency, Hawaii Department of Health. Crews from Station Honolulu have conducted daily patrols in the affected area since Monday.
The request for federal assistance allows the Coast Guard to support the lead agency with a wide variety of resources to include specialized response personnel, boats and equipment from the Coast Guard and other Federal Agencies. The captain of the port requested support from the Coast Guard’s National Strike Force for water sampling and monitoring and is currently coordinating with technical specialists from the EPA to help assess additional response mitigation strategies.
The Hawaii Department of Health remains the lead agency for the response. Other agencies involved include the Hawaii Department of Transportation Harbor Police, Hawaii Health Department Clean Water Branch, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources, Clean Islands Council and the Hawaii Wildlife Center.
HONOLULU – Gov. Neil Abercrombie today released the following statement about the state’s response to the Honolulu Harbor molasses spill:
Gov. Abercrombie stated:
“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. The affected area is limited to a portion of the Honolulu Harbor channel and Keehi Lagoon.
“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.”
Earlier today a Honolulu news source learned that Matson does not have a spill response plan for molasses.
Washington, DC—Today, Senator Brian Schatz announced that he is in contact with federal agencies to aid the State response to the spill of an estimated 224,000 gallons of molasses on Sunday, September 8, 2013. Since the molasses spill, hundreds of fish have died, and its long term impacts on fish and other marine life are uncertain.
“Today I have contacted state officials and federal officials at NOAA, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Army Corps of Engineers to get briefed on the situation and to ensure that all appropriate federal resources and expertise are focused on this spill,” said Senator Brian Schatz. “We must take swift action in order to minimize harm to our oceans and natural resources.”
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