Speculation emerges over TMT construction

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — It’s been six days since the construction of the Thirty-Meter Telescope was scheduled to begin.

Among the kiaʻi, or the protectors, it remains quiet at the summit of Mauna Kea. Their spirits have not wavered.

The Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE), Department of Land and Natural Resources gave updates on Mauna Kea on Saturday, July 20.

The DLNR said that they plan to continue for the safe passage of construction resources to the site on Mauna Kea.

They also said that they want to remind protesters to exercise caution and to remain safe.

“We have a presence here,” said DOCARE Chief Jason Redulla. “Our role is definitely public safety and law enforcement.”

KHON2 asked Redulla to comment on how the order at Mauna Kea could be characterized, but the chief declined to make characterizations.

As the days passed, speculation began to circulate around the project, specifically around the construction of the telescope. This happened especially on social media.

Among the rumors is the telescope’s alleged use of nuclear power.

According to the approved Environment Impact Statement (EIS) for TMT, there is no reference to anything nuclear.

Another rumor floating around claims that there is a water duct underneath Mauna Kea. The rumor claims that in order for the telescope to cool down, construction will allegedly have to drill down into the water duct.

But according to the EIS, there are no wells on the mountain and it is also not planned in the design. All water, according to their own study, is to be trucked in by the same company that provides water to all other telescope facilities.

The facility will have a conventional heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. Similar to what one may find in an office.

Wastewater is managed in DOH-monitored storage systems. The EIS says pump trucks will take it away weekly. Nothing goes into the ground or comes up from the ground.

It is a zero-discharge, non-well design.

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