Posts filed under ‘Emergency Preparedness’

EPA Clean Air Act Public Hearings at UH Maui

May 31 in Kahului, June 1 in Hilo

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will be holding two public hearings on the proposed Clean Air Act Regional Haze Federal Implementation Plan for Hawaii, one in Kahului, Maui on May 31 and one in Hilo, Hawaii Island on June 1.

Regional haze is visibility impairment caused by the cumulative air pollutant emissions from numerous sources over a wide geographic area. This haze obscures the views of scenery at a distance, reducing the beauty of national parks. The EPA plan is designed to achieve progress toward achieving visibility goals at the Haleakala National Park and the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in the first planning period through 2018. The proposed plan would impose a cap on pollution from certain oil-fired electric generating units on the Big Island. It is likely that the Hawaii Electric Light Company could meet this cap through improvements in energy conservation and increased reliance on renewable energy already planned as part of Hawaii’s Clean Energy Initiative. The EPA is not planning to impose any other additional pollution controls as part of this stage of the Regional Haze Program.

The Clean Air Act requires states, in coordination with EPA, the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, and other interested parties, to develop and implement air quality protection plans to reduce the pollution that causes visibility impairment in 156 national parks and wilderness areas. Agencies have been monitoring visibility in national parks and wilderness areas since 1988. In 1999, the EPA announced a major effort to improve air quality in national parks and wilderness areas through the Clean Air Act Regional Haze Rule.

The proposed plan for Hawaii is available on the following website:

Contact:  Dean Higuchi,,                      

May 22, 2012 at 2:39 pm Leave a comment

Surprise! U.S. might meet its climate targets – The Washington Post

The recession and other factors may lower U.S. carbon emissions to the goals set at the 2009 Copenhagen climate talks.

CO2 reduction chart

Read full Washington Post article..

October 3, 2011 at 5:46 am Leave a comment

24 Hours of Climate Realty: Al Gore, Hour 24: New York

Video streaming by Ustream

Presented on September 14 and 15, spanning 24 hours, 24 time zones and multiple languages, 24 Hours of Reality features a new multimedia presentation about climate change created by Vice President Gore and delivered by an army of personally trained slide show presenters from around the world. Beginning in Mexico City and proceeding westward around the globe, 24 Hours of Reality offers a round-the-clock snapshot of the global climate crisis in real time, sharing unique perspectives on the crisis from Tonga to Cape Verde, Mexico City to Kotzebue, Alaska, Jakarta to London. With one event scheduled in each time zone at 7 p.m. local time, the entire 24 hours was streamed live online from start to finish, and culminated in this final ‘Hour 24’ presentation by Vice President Gore in New York at 7 pm.

See other parts of this 24-hour, world-wide presentation..

September 18, 2011 at 1:08 pm Leave a comment

Vog Information

Vog is primarily a mixture of sulfur dioxide (SO2) gas and sulfate (SO4) aerosol. SO2 (invisible) reacts with oxygen and moisture in the air to produce SO4 aerosol (visible). SO2 is expected to be the main problem in areas near the vent on the big island of Hawai’i.

Here are some online resources with information about vog and vog contitions.

The Vog Measurement and Prediction Project (VMAP) has a number of useful pages:

U.S. Geological Survey Hawai’ian Volcano Observatory.

Hawai’i State Department of Health
NOAA Satellite & Information Service: SO2 map

Useful Vog Info

Wikipedia vog article

March 21, 2011 at 12:15 am Leave a comment

Notes from Clean Energy Meeting, Kihei March 17, 2011


  • Situation in Japan
  • Reation what can we do
  • Why 2011 is “Solar Year”
  • Solar Investing
  • Action Items in Maui and Honolulu
  • Kanu Hawai’i – July energy challenge


  • The reactors are out of control.
  • The situation is worse than Chernobyl, which had 1 million deaths. Now there are 6 reactors compared to 1 in Chernobyl. Some commentators say this is 500 times worse.
  • Reactor 3 is run partially on plutonium which is 1000 times more dangerous, experimenting with MOX for 3 months 5-15% plutonium
  • A Google news search for plutonium incidents shows that the US media doesn’t report them, but they are big news in Germany.

What can we do?

  • Set up a web page with radiation information. Click here to see this new posting.
  • Discussion: Should we start a Facebook page for distributing information about radiation risks and protection on Maui? What organizations already exist here with those resources?
  • Call for replacing nuclear with clean energy, wind, solar.
  • The Sierra Club already has anti-nuclear position, but it hasn’t started to point what we should be learning from the Japanese events and implementing in the U.S. We are prompted to encourage the Sierra Club to more actively to promote renewable energy in place of nuclear.
  • There is much discussion now on the internet about nuclear risks and suggested political actions.
  • There is also some information about the risks on Maui from the Japanese nuclear accidents and recommended precautions.
    Click here for some online resources as of 3/18/11.
  • Radioactive Iodine (Iodine-131) was major risk from the Chernobyl nuclear plant meltdown is not as big a factor with the current situation, which is leaking more Cesium.
  • For radioactive iodine, potassium Iodide is recommended, but only when person is exposed. It’s absorbed by the thyroid, which then doesn’t take in the radioactive substance.

    Good natural sources of iodine are edible seaweed, like nori, kelp, dulse and irish moss as well as asparagus, garlic, lima beans, mushrooms, seafood, sea salt and fortified salt, sesame seeds, soybeans, spinach, summer squash, swiss chard and turnip greens.


  • PV costs have come down to between $2.80/watt (Germany) and $6.50/watt (US).
  • Chinese thin wafer technology is less expensive but can fracture more easily.
  • China is installing a new coal plant each week.
  • Safe nuclear? This is a problem because of the long half life of nuclear waste, which contains certain radioactive elements (such as plutonium-239) from “spent” fuel that will remain hazardous to humans and other creatures for hundreds of thousands of years. Other radioisotopes remain hazardous for millions of years.
  • What is needed is the political will to make the change to clean energy happen sooner. Because of the wealth and lobbying power of the established oil, coal and nuclear suppliers , this is a huge challenge. How can we make the change?
  • Suggestion: Lease rooftops to MECO to generate electricity.
    Response: MECO did survey about this and found it difficult to manage a large number of small roofs.
  • One problem with locally generated clean energy is the limited capacity of the grid to take variable energy. Reliable forms of storage are needed, perhaps incentives for homeowners to get batteries to store sun and wind generated electricity during high production and and installation of available systems that let individual batteries feed back into the grid at specific times of day, like peak demand between 7-9pm.
  • Currently the best batteries are Lithium-Ion batteries.
  • Energy can also be stored by Pumped Hydro systems, but local studies about feasibility of pumped storage at Ulupalakua revealed serious problems regarding environmental impact statements and getting permits.
  • A planned reservoir in upcountry has a cost of $100 million to build and an 18-year of permitting process. Two of those would be needed for pumped storage. MECO is only worth $100 million and they burn $300 million of oil burned/year, which is paid for by consumers. It is hard for them to invest $100-200 million in a storage system.
  • The Lanai PV farm was designed to store energy, but the battery company failed and the Chinese bought it. Lanai is just now getting a new battery.
  • The new FIT (Feed-in-Tariff), policy allows an electricity producer to upload a maximum of 250 kw to MECO for 20 years at a guaranteed rate of 21-27 cents per kw hour.
  • Net metering is better for homes than FIT, however, a producer can have a FIT meter on a separate meter from the Net Meter.


  • An investment in a PV system with a 6% interest loan gives power costs for 30 years between 14-33 cents / kWh. MECO currently charges $0.30-0.34/kWh and that will likely only get higher.
  • Inverters for PV systems are warranted for 10-15 years and will likely be replaced because of limited lifetime and improvements in technology.
  • The PV modules have 10 year warranty, but can least for up to 40 years if not damaged by a big voltage surge, people walking on top of them and creating micro fractures, or getting serious corrosion on the terminal or getting water seepage.
  • The resulting return on a PV system is between 8% and 13%, depending whether tax incentives are utilized.
  • This grows to a 31% annual return in 20 years (considering a 5.5% increase in kWh prices)
  • Commercial systems pay off in 2-4 years –
  • Investments in solar parks yield 7-14%. A solar park is where people rent out their land or their roof and others invest in the PV installation.
  • One problem is that the rush to install at the end of the year for tax write-offs chokes installation process with over demand of limited supplies.
  • People need to learn how to use the tax benefits that are year-round.
  • Need to have clean energy education for architects and bankers.
  • LEED (international green building certification system) points are given for generating energy, but not for design. Because of the current low economy, there are few LEED projects on Maui now.
  • PV installation also protect roofs, but you need to start with a roof in good condition.


  • Signs in front of PV homes or stickers on their mailboxes could show the trend.


  • These are very practical, can be placed in parking lots, give shade to parked vehicles and provide power for all the associated businesses or homes.


  • Alternating PV pipes and open space can make the right amount of shade for vegetables like tomatoes. Some panels let sunlight through and could also be installed in gardens.


  • Ground mounted systems require a building permit and they must be engineered.


  • Solar hot water was tested by, and standards developed in part by the utilities. Now it is mandated for new construction, but regulations and enforcement were not mandated. The mandate eliminated solar hot water tax credits and rebates and costs the state money for inspection. Contractors also must be trained to properly install the units.
  • Architects also need to be educated about locating solar electricity and solar water units appropriately, too limit length of pipes from source to end use.


  • These are made from amorphous materials and serve a double purpose, but are not yet efficient enough to be really practical.


  • The Small Wind Power market is still developing.
  • The vertical axis installation at the MECO office is wobbly. Same problem at the UHC. The 20′ height above the bearing creates cantilever problems on bearings.
  • All wind units get energy from their “swept area”, which is one of the most important factors in predicting energy production
  • Vertical wind turbines swept area is half the cage size because because half of the time it’s rotating into the wind.
  • The small turbines at the Ma’alea aquarium are challenged to follow shifts in wind direction.
  • Wind turbines must be high enough to avoid turbulence, which kills energy production.
  • Wind power provides better dollar per kw hours than solar in a good wind resource.
  • Durability is issue with wind equipment. There’s a 20-year design for the better units.
  • The first big Maalea turbine fell apart each week because it was an old design that wasn’t  made for the salt environment)
  • The <i>First Wind</i> farm now has storage in the form of a semi-truck sized GE battery. Their new farm will go up soon. Huge pieces of the new windmills can be seen stored beyond the fence at the end of South Holopono Street in the Maui Research Park.
  • Land is leased from the state by First Wind. Customers pay MECO which pays First Wind which pays state.
  • When excess energy is generated, it can be curtailed  by stopping the windmill from turning.
  • Construction has begun at the Auwahi Wind Energy 22-megawatt wind energy and battery storage project near Ulupalakua. Because it’s at end of power line, it needs a massive 30 MW battery.



March 19, 2011 at 2:26 am 1 comment

Global Climate Change and Shoreline Changes for Maui—Zoe Norcross Nu’u

Click picture to view video.

Zoe is a coastal geologist who has been doing studies on Maui for the UH Extension program. On July 8, 2009, she shared a very dramatic presentation with the Rotary Club of Kihei/Wailea. She detailed the steady rise of the world’s oceans and how they affect Hawaii, what the future affects are likely to be and what needs to be done, sooner better than later, to prepare and prevent catastrophic effects on Maui. The main areas we need to manage are Coastal Development, Relocation of important infrastructure including at least one power plant and the water purification plant, and studies need to be funded to determine how run off will affect Maui and groundwater resources and how Maui will manage its beaches.

July 17, 2009 at 6:39 pm Leave a comment

Emergency Preparedness

CERT – Community Emergency Response Teams – creating a citizens corps of local ‘first responders’ in every community. Maui County offers free training.

What should I do about drinking water in case of an emergency?

How much water do I need?
Consumers should ensure a safe supply of water for emergency use, by storing at least two (2) quarts of water per person per day that you expect an emergency to last. In other words, a supply of two gallons of water per person should last for 4 days. Don’t forget to have some water on hand for your pets.

Don’t wait to store water supplies. It would be wise to clean containers you will be using to store water ahead of time. Once you have been advised to store water, it would be best not to wait until the last minute, as many other people will be trying to draw water at the same time.

How can I disinfect my water for drinking?
If the water system did not have any main breaks or loss of water pressure, the water quality can generally be assumed to be safe for drinking. Otherwise, any water that will used for drinking, cooking, or brushing the teeth should be properly disinfected before use.

Consumers should listen to the radio for advisories on the areas where water has become contaminated and unsafe to drink. Follow directions and advisories from the Maui Department of Water Supply, Civil Defense, or the Department of Health on disinfecting water and/or the location of alternative water supplies.

Should there be any concerns over the safety of the potable water, the following may be considered for disinfecting water:


  1. Strain the water through a clean cloth into a container to remove any sediment or floating matter.
  2. Boil the water vigorously for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Allow the water to cool. The flat taste caused by boiling is easily removed by adding a pinch of salt to each quart of boiled water or pour the water back and forth from one clean container to another.

Chemical Treatment
When boiling water is not possible, chemical disinfection should be used. The two chemicals commonly used are chlorine or iodine. Strain the water as in step #1 above and purify with chlorine or iodine as follows:

Chlorine – Any household bleach solution (plain, not scented) that contains hypochlorite may be used for disinfection. The strength is given on the label; use the following to determine the amount of chlorine to add per quart of water.

Available Chlorine Drops per Quart of clean water*
1% 10
4-6% 2
7-10% 1
*Double the amount for turbid (cloudy) water

The treated water should be mixed thoroughly and allowed to stand for 30 minutes. The water should have a slight chlorine odor, if not, repeat the dosage and allow the water to stand for an additional 15 minutes. If the treated water has too strong a chlorine taste, it can be made palatable by allowing the water to stand exposed to the air for a few hours or by pouring it from one clean container to another several times.

Iodine – Common household iodine from the medicine chest or first aid kit package may be used to disinfect water. Add five (5) drops of 2% United States Pharmacopeia (U.S.P.) tincture of Iodine to each quart of clear water. For turbid water add 10 drops and let the solution stand for at least 30 minutes.

September 14, 2008 at 1:41 pm Leave a comment

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