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Iselle: Updates for Aug. 15

Hawaii County Civil Defense Community Assistance Update


Video courtesy of

Hawaii 24/7 Staff

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has signed a supplementary proclamation to extend the state of emergency through Oct. 17, 2014.

The original emergency proclamation, issued Aug. 6, was set to expire Friday Aug. 15.

The proclamation, which includes the entire state, activates the Major Disaster Fund set aside by the Legislature for disaster relief.

Additionally, it allows easier access to emergency resources at the state and federal levels.

Read the full proclamation at:

Click to access Supplementary-Proclamation-2014-08-14.pdf


Power restoration update from Hawai‘i Electric Light

Hilo, Aug. 14, 2014, 11:30 a.m. – Electric service to approximately 1,400 customers was restored yesterday as crews continue to make progress on restoring power in the Puna District.

More than 200 workers have mobilized to work in the field on restoring power, including 26 electrical line crews, 14 tree trimming crews, and 30 construction crews contracted to dig holes for utility poles. Approximately 30 more crew members will be arriving. The combined workforce will include crews from Hawai‘i island, O‘ahu, Maui, Kaua‘i, and contracted companies.

“We understand how difficult things are for our customers who are still without power, so we’re grateful to have received so much support from across the state. We’re working extremely hard to safely restore power as quickly as possible,” said Darren Pai, Hawai‘i Electric Light spokesman.

“The magnitude of damage, especially concentrated in the Puna District, is greater than we’ve ever seen. Our preliminary estimate is that more than 200 utility poles and 130 transformers were damaged and need to be replaced,” added Pai.

With the larger field workforce, crews continue to identify previously unreported outages and gather more details about the extent of the damage caused by Iselle. Currently, an estimated 6,300 customers are without power.

Restoration process

The process for restoring service involves many steps that need to be coordinated to ensure public and utility workers’ safety. We’re also working on deploying the right resources to ensure crews can restore power as quickly as possible.

  • Assess damage: Damage assessments by field crews identify the extent of damage and the specific materials – including poles, transformers, and power lines – that have need repair or replacement.
  • Clear trees and debris/dig holes: Contracted tree trimming and construction crews then need to clear fallen trees and debris and dig holes for utility poles
  • Install poles, restring lines, and install transformers: Electrical line crews can then be deployed to begin installing the poles, framing the cross arms on the poles, restringing lines, and installing transformers and other equipment.
  • Repair main line first before energizing: Work is first done on the main lines serving subdivisions to restore the connection into those neighborhoods. Side streets can then be restored. Even after power is restored to a neighborhood, there may still be damage at individual homes or pockets of homes within a neighborhood that will need to be addressed separately.

Areas of work

Today, electrical line crews expect to make progress in the following areas: Nanawale Estates, Leilani Estates, Hawaiian Beaches, Hawaiian Acres, Hawaiian Paradise Park, and portions of Upper Puna.

Some areas of focus today include:

  • In Hawaiian Beaches crews have restored main lines along Kahakai Boulevard down to Puni Makai Loop. This allows crews to restore side streets along the way.
  • In Leilani Estates, crews have restored power power along Leilani Boulevard and are now working on side streets.
  • In Hawaiian Paradise Park, crews have restore most of the main lines along Paradise Drive and are focusing on the area between 21st Street and 12th Street, which suffered extensive damage from trees.

In addition, contracted tree trimming and construction crews are working to clear fallen trees, debris, and dig utility pole holes in Nanawale Estates, Hawaiian Paradise Park, Hawaiian Beaches, Leilani Estates, Upper Puna, and other areas throughout the Puna District. Restoration progress may be impacted by access due to storm debris, fallen trees, or other conditions in the field.
Even if customers don’t see crews in their area, work is being done to restore power to their communities. In many cases, additional work on the electric system is needed in other locations to restore service.

Although crews are making progress and restoration in many areas may be much faster, preliminary estimates indicate it could take up to three weeks – and in some cases, even longer – to restore power to the areas with the most significant damage. Actual restoration times for each location will depend on the extent of the damage.

Important safety information

As the restoration work progresses, Hawai‘i Electric Light urges the public to remember these important safety tips:

  • Do not handle or move any fallen or damaged utility equipment.
  • Do not approach any downed power lines, as they may have electricity running through them and can be dangerous. If you see someone injured by a downed power line, call 9-1-1 for assistance.
  • Use generators outdoors and away from flammable materials. Generators connected directly to your home may feed excess electricity back into power lines, creating a public safety hazard. Plug appliances directly into your generator, using extension cords.
  • Unplug unnecessary and sensitive electronic equipment. Use high-quality surge suppressors for electric appliances that remain plugged in.
  • Use batteries to power flashlights and lanterns. Do not use candles or other flammable fuel sources, as they are fire hazards.
  • Be aware of trees and utility poles that were weakened by storm winds and have the potential for falling.

Hawai‘i Electric Light continues to operate its Customer Information Center at the Hawaiian Shores Community Center in Hawaiian Beaches. Several hundred people have been visiting the center daily. Company representatives are on hand to answer questions from the public and provide the status of repairing the damage. A charging station will be available at the center. Customers may bring their electronic devices to the center and get them charged there. The center will remain open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. as the restoration process continues.



A further 1,500 customers had power restored Tuesday, Aug. 12.

Power has been restored in Hamakua, Ainaloa, Orchidland Estates, and portions of Upper Puna, Hawaiian Beaches and Hawaiian Paradise Park.

Approximately 200 workers have mobilized, including 22 electrical line crews, 14 tree trimming crews, and 25 construction crews contracted to dig holes for utility poles.

An additional 40 crew members are expected, including crews from Maui Electric, Kauai Island Utility Cooperative and private contracted companies.

Crews expected to make progress Wednesday in the following areas: Leilani Estates, Hawaiian Beaches, Hawaiian Paradise Park, and portions of Upper Puna. Crews also hope to make progress along the highway from Pahoa to Kalapana.

“We know there are customers in areas where they don’t see crews working. In many cases, we need to do additional work on the system away from their exact location in order to restore their power,” HELCO spokesman Darren Pai said.

Pockets across the Puna district sustained damage so severe, outages may last up to three weeks, although there that estimate remains uncertain.



Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA), formerly State Civil Defense, and the Hawaii National Guard continue to support Hawaii County one week after landfall of Tropical Storm Iselle.

“Hawaii County, HELCO, the National Guard, and Hawaii Voluntary Agencies Active in Disasters, including the American Red Cross and Aloha United Way, have made significant progress toward getting the hardest hit areas back to normal,” said the state’s Administrator of Emergency Management Doug Mayne. “While our work is not done, we’re fortunate to be able to cooperatively work with these great agencies.”

Authorized by Gov. Neil Abercrombie, the State Emergency Operations Center has remained activated since Iselle’s arrival to respond to requests from Hawaii County. HI-EMA liaisons were also sent to Hawaii County to help in recovery coordination efforts.

As of 11 a.m. Thursday, ongoing, active state missions to assist residents in Puna and other areas of the Big Island include:

· Support of ice and water distribution, including the procurement and delivery of over 180,000 pounds of ice to Hawaii County since Monday, Aug. 11. Additional state resources sent to Hawaii County included dry ice, Disaster Assistance and Recovery Center (DARC) kits, water, and other equipment to support emergency management.

· Opening and staffing of a DARC at the Pahoa Community Center from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday. This center provides information on available disaster services. A DARC at the Mountain View Gym is set to open Saturday and Sunday.

· Continuing joint door-to-door visits to ensure people are safe and have food and water in Nanawale, Kalapana, Kapoho and Pohoiki.

· Coordination of damage assessments with the county from last week Friday. Joint damage assessments with the state, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Small Business Administration begin tomorrow.

· Assistance with communication restoration or supplementation.

· Coordination of volunteer agencies for clean-up efforts. These volunteer organizations – Team Rubicon, Pacific Baptists, and All Hands – are also part of the DARC.

HI-EMA urges storm survivors to continue to protect themselves from post storm health and safety risks. Common post storm safety risks include downed power lines, carbon monoxide hazards from generators and hibachis, falls or impact trauma, burns, scrapes, and illness from contact with contaminated water.

Food and drinking water contamination is also common after a storm.

Iselle survivors suffering from prolonged power outages are asked to follow food safety recommendations from the Food and Drug Administration’s site:

Improper use of ice or dry ice may result in spoilage of refrigerated or frozen foods. Throw away any food that doesn’t look or smell right. The last thing you need to deal with when trying to recover from a disaster is food poisoning.

Always follow safety recommendations if using dry ice to keep food cool. Never put dry ice in direct contact with food and use dry, heavy gloves when handling.

Usage guidelines for residential freezers are: Use 2.5 to 3 pounds of dry ice per cubic feet of freezer space (50 pounds will keep an 18 cubic foot freezer safe for at least two days). Place ice on each shelf.

Pack empty spaces with crumpled newspaper or blankets to slow air circulation and make dry ice last longer. Stand back and allow gas fumes to vent after opening freezer – dry ice produces carbon dioxide gas when it “melts.”

Hawaii Island residents can call (808) 935-0031 to report damage and (808) 961-8790 for any emergency water concerns.

Maui residents can report damage at:

The number for the HELCO help line is (808) 969-6666.



This is a Community Assessment and Assistance information update for Thursday Aug. 14 at 9 a.m.

Incorrect rumors are circulating that generators are being distributed…. There is no distribution of generators to the public taking place.

County Public Works and Parks & Recreation crews with state Highways, Forestry crews, Hawaii National Guard, and private contractors will be continuing with debris clearance and road clearing operations. All affected subdivisions currently have access to the highways and main roadways however there may be debris and obstructions within the subdivision roadways. Once again, the community is thanked for their help and assistance with the clearing of the roads and the removal of trees and debris. Everyone is reminded that all downed power lines should be treated as energized and avoided to insure safety.

HELCO crews continue to work on restoring power in the affected areas.

The various telephone service providers continue to work to restore telephone service to affected areas. Verizon reports is has restored service, while AT&T reports it has re-established intermittent coverage.

Community assistance centers for the distribution of water and ice will be set up at the following locations at 12:00 noon today:

a. Nanawale Estates Community Center

b. Leilani Estates Community Center. People are asked to bring containers to haul potable water at Leilani

c. Kalani Honua Retreat

d. Hawaiian Shores Community Center

e. Hawaiian Paradise Park Community Center

f. Ice will also be distributed at J.Hara Store in Kurtistown starting at 3 p.m.

Supplies are limited and everyone’s patience and understanding is greatly appreciated.

The County Department of Environmental Management is waiving tipping fees for disaster debris from Tropical Storm Iselle. Haulers must request the waiver form at the scale house to qualify.

For more information, haulers should go to the Web site

Damage assessments are ongoing and being conducted by the County Office of Housing and Community Development and the Hawaii National Guard.

The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency and the County of Hawaii will set up Disaster Assistance and Recovery Centers (DARCs) on Hawaii Island to provide information and services to people whose property was damaged by Tropical Storm Iselle.

The schedule and location for the Disaster Assistance and Recovery Centers is:

* Thursday and Friday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Pahoa Community Center

* Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Mountain View Gym



Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) is providing information regarding storm-related impacts to its 38-megawatt facility.

This information is being distributed to area residents at community assistance centers including Nanawale Estates, Leilani Estates, Hawaiian Shores and Hawaiian Paradise Park Community Centers as well as Kalani Honua Retreat and J. Hara Store.

The community update can be found below:

Tropical Storm-related Information from Puna Geothermal Venture

The night of Tropical Storm Iselle, Puna Geothermal Venture’s 38-megawatt power generating station on Hawaii Island was shutdown as designed.

There was no “uncontrolled release” or “spill” at the facility contrary to some initial reports by commentators.

To prepare for the storm, PGV staff reviewed emergency procedures in anticipation of bad weather. PGV increased night shift crews through the storm and actively reduced the plant’s output in preparation of extreme weather conditions.

At about 7:30 p.m. Hawaii Electric Light Company (HELCO) lost both transmission lines that PGV connects to in order to transmit power to the electrical grid. With the loss of the transmission lines, the plant shutdown as designed.

By design and following approved procedures, steam was released through the emergency steam release facility. That steam was ABATED, that is, caustic soda and water were added to scrub the steam of hydrogen sulfide (H2S).

This was done according to regulatory procedures, per the approved emergency response plan. This process is part of PGV’s Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) air permit requirements.

The bulk of the steam was released within the first ten minutes. The residual energy of the steam system was safely released and the wells completely shut in in approximately 45 minutes.

A relief valve malfunction resulted in a low flow of steam released for slightly longer until isolated approximately 15 minutes later.

During the early part of the steam release, there was a sulfur smell. A PGV employee monitored levels at the fence line and had a peak reading of 25 parts per billion.

The DOH regulation requires that we not exceed 25 parts per billion (ppb) on an hourly average. The 25 ppb reading was a “peak,” and not sustained. This emission event was well below DOH regulatory limits.

Based on the air monitoring during the shutdown, emissions remained below permitted levels and there was never any danger or violation of environmental limits.

There was no need to evacuate, but Hawaii County Civil Defense alerted residents that they could evacuate voluntarily.

To put this into perspective, it is important to note that OSHA standards allow workers without protective equipment to work in an area with 10 parts per million, or 10,000 parts per billion.

The plant has remained offline since the storm and PGV began scheduled maintenance work on Monday, Aug. 11; this scheduled maintenance had been planned with HELCO a year ago.

We anticipate restarting the plant as early as Friday, Aug. 15 depending on transmission line availability from HELCO.

The scheduled maintenance includes routine inspections, equipment overhauls, mechanical and electrical repairs and testing.

There are about 70 employees and contractors at the PGV site on Pohoiki Road in Pahoa supporting the maintenance activity, and we have no reports of illness or nausea.

PGV continues to support the local community in recovery efforts through the local Red Cross.

What it means to “shut in wells” — The pressure and flow control valves automatically shut, through computer programming overseen with human interface. This stops the flow from the geothermal resource to the generators that produce power.



Tropical Storm Iselle brought down or damaged thousands of trees in Puna District.

At the request of Hawaii County, DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife crews have been operating chain saws and heavy equipment to clear entire trees, large limbs and other vegetation debris from roads in the Pahoa area.

Each day since last Saturday, 12-16 DOFAW workers have felled countless trees, mostly invasive, non-native Albizia trees on main thoroughfares and side roads.

Many of these roads were blocked, trapping people on their properties when the towering Albizia trees crashed down during the tropical storm.

DLNR Chair William J. Aila, Jr., said: “Teams from all of DLNR’s divisions have been working hard, often around the clock, to assess and if necessary repair damage caused by the storm. We opened state parks, forests and other recreational facilities as quickly as possible with safety for our staff and the people of Hawaii being paramount.”

DOFAW administrator Lisa Hadway singled out the sawyers helping to reopen roads on the Big Island. “It is tough, dirty, demanding work; none of these people complain as they know they’re helping their friends, visitors and in some cases their own families,” she said.



Agricultural producers who were negatively impacted by Hurricane Iselle may be eligible for assistance through the United States Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency (FSA).

Program resources include:

Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance (NAP) helps to offset production losses for those producers who were signed-up for the program in advance.

Tree Assistance Program (TAP) is available for qualifying fruit orchardists of papaya, macadamia nuts, banana and tropical fruits. The program provides cost share to clean up, rehabilitate and replant.

Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) can assist farmers and ranchers with the clean-up of field damage to farms and ranches including debris removal and fence replacement. This program must be authorized by FSA’s National Office and is based upon assessed impacts.

Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) helps offset ranchers’ losses of cattle, goats or sheep.

Farm Loan Programs offers a range of low-interest loan programs to assist producers. Additionally, producers with existing loans with FSA should contact their loan officer once they anticipate having problems making their regular payments, as FSA may be able to modify their payment schedule or help meet other needs.

For more information about FSA’s programs including what you need to do in advance of the next disaster visit or for a more comprehensive look at USDA disaster assistance visit:

“We are very concerned for producers’ livelihoods due to the extent of reported damages sustained during Hurricane Iselle,” said, Diane Ley, Executive Director for FSA in Hawaii and the Pacific Basin. “Farm Service Agency is currently mobilizing resources to meet directly with producers at the State’s Disaster Assistance Recovery Centers (DARC) this Thursday through Sunday, August 14 through August 17. We also plan to address producers through industry organized meetings in the coming week and proceed with scheduling individual site visits to farms.”

Individuals who have questions about availability of loans to meet financial needs during this challenging time and to restore their farm or ranch operations should contact the FSA.

To obtain more information and learn about signing up for program assistance through the FSA, visit the DARCs from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at:

* Thursday, Aug. 14 and Friday, Aug. 15 at Pahoa Community Center, 15-2910 Puna Road

* Saturday, Aug. 16 and Sunday, Aug. 17 at Mountain View Gym, 18-1345 A Volcano Road

Producers who cannot make it to the DARCs can call the FSA Hawaii County Office at 933-8381, extension 1.

Due to the extent of the damages generating a high volume of inquiries, walk-in customers are advised of long wait times, as those with appointments will be given priority.

When calling in, producers should be prepared to provide the following information:

Name and contact information to allow for follow-up scheduling of an appointment
Location of farm
Type of crop
Estimated acres/trees lost or percentage of crop lost
Description of structural damage
Assistance requested; e.g., disaster assistance or farm loan



L&L Hawaiian Barbecue is offering free hot meals 10 a.m.-noon Friday, Aug. 15, only at its location on 427 Pahoa Road in Puna, to assist in the relief efforts for victims of Tropical Storm Iselle.

One soft drink and one free plate lunch – either kalua pig with cabbage and rice or hamburger steak with gravy and rice – per person.

Co-sponsored by L&L, S. Hata and Pepsi.

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