HONOLULU (KHON2) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has begun cleaning up hazardous material from homes destroyed by the fires.
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Many are wondering when the next phase will begin.
We were up in Kula earlier watching the EPA clear hazardous waste from one of the homes on Kulalani.
They say they’re still on phase one but some are concerned about weather conditions ahead of phase 2.
This morning EPA teams were clearing hazardous materials from one of the homes from the upcountry fire.
According to EPA they can access properties without the homeowners permission to get hazardous materials out that can impact the health of the environment and people.
“Household hazard waste can include things like chemical containers, pesticides, compressed solvents etc.,” said Alejandro Diaz, from EPA Maui.
The EPA said the items are then safely disposed of at special facilities off-island.
Impacted residents do not have to pay for the removal.
“It’s necessary work to allow for the larger debris work that’s called Phase 2 on Maui we have 100 people right now going to wrap up Kula this upcoming week and move to Lahaina,” added Diaz.
But many are confused when that Phase 2 process which is debris removal will begin – many are salvaging items on their own and want to clean their area of non hazardous debris but know they can’t bring toxic items to the dump.
“A lot of residents are wondering when is that going to happen. There’s a lot of concern about whether it’s currently raining and all of the runoff that’s going to run down to the oceans and I see Kula serving as a case study or a how-to for Lahaina,” said Tim Lara, an Upcountry resident.
“We have 20 how sites that were burned and there were hundreds in West Maui they can come through and do Phase 1 here, move onto Phase 2, and then will start to get an understanding of what that’s going to look like in Lahaina, where they’re not even at Phase 1 yet because they’re still finding the rest of the remains of missing persons,” Lara continued.
The EPA said phases can be delayed due to weather, others hope they can get more communication with EPA soon so they can start the most important phase to them, rebuilding.