Department of Health Seal

TGM for the Implementation of the Hawai'i State Contingency Plan
Section 16.3


Once the RAA has been completed adequately, and sufficient information has been gathered for public review and a remedy selection decision, the HEER Office will solicit public review and comment on the preferred remedy selection decision prior to making a final remedy selection. The final remedial alternative selection is approved by or chosen by the HEER Office.

16.3.1 Preparing a Draft Response Action Memorandum (RAM)

The Draft Remedial Action Memorandum (RAM) is a concise summary of site investigation and environmental hazard data, supplemental remedial investigation data (if applicable), the remedial alternatives analysis, and the preliminary remedial alternative selected for the site.

The Draft RAM is used to solicit public review and comment on the proposed remedial action. The Draft RAM may be assembled and finalized by the HEER Office, or alternately, the HEER Office may request or offer the responsible party/site environmental consultant an opportunity to prepare a "preliminary" Draft RAM. In this case, the preliminary Draft RAM would be carefully reviewed and edited, as necessary, for use as the HEER Office Draft RAM for public review.

Section 18.5.13 presents detailed content recommendations for the Final RAM, and all but the last several elements of these recommendations would also be applicable for the Draft RAM.

16.3.2 Public Participation and Public Notices

For remedial response actions, public notice and a minimum 30-day public comment period to review the Draft RAM and associated documents and provide comment are required under the Hawai`i SCP. This public notice and comment period must be completed prior to adopting the Final RAM and implementing the selected remedial alternative. A public meeting may also be held to review and discuss the Draft RAM, at the discretion of the HEER Office. VRP sites must follow the public participation steps of the remedial action process (see Section 20.3, VRP).

In some cases, public participation and community involvement activities should be started long before the Draft RAM is prepared. Site assessment and remedial investigation activities can identify the presence of off-site contamination, and potentially affected human and ecological receptors. Early contact with adjacent property owners as well as affected and interested groups, such as neighborhood boards, community groups, and environmental or public interest organizations, may be valuable in helping to identify site-specific issues relevant to the remedial action that otherwise might be overlooked. At a minimum, it is recommended that a public participation plan be developed concurrent with, or as soon as the Draft RAM is completed.

As part of the public participation process, a 2-page fact sheet typically is made available for interested parties. This fact sheet, which summarizes contaminants in the release, site environmental conditions, site environmental hazards, and the preferred remedial action selected for the site, can be posted on the HEER Office website and sent to interested parties via postal mail or e-mail. If the degree of public interest in the site is sufficient, the HEER Office may also decide to hold a public meeting. A public meeting generally would be scheduled in the evening on a weekday at a public meeting space near to the remediation site. The public meeting also generally would be held in the middle of the public comment period (e.g. two weeks from time notice published in the newspaper) to allow time for the public to review additional site information both before and after the meeting. A record of the public meeting, in the form of a transcript, recording, or minutes is prepared and made available to the public.

Public notices, where required or provided at the discretion of the HEER Office, primarily advertise availability of the administrative record for a particular site, the proposed response action, and the opportunity to review the record and submit public comment on the proposed response action within a specified comment period (at least 30 days). When a decision has been made by the HEER Office to hold a public meeting regarding the proposed response action, the meeting is also advertised in the public notice. Generally, public notices provide the following type of information:

  • Location and size of site
  • Hazardous substances and media being addressed
  • Availability of key site documents such as the Draft RAM for a remedial response action - these key documents are made available in a local library, on the HEER Office website, and/or at the HEER Office in Honolulu
  • Availability of the full administrative record for the site in the Honolulu HEER Office
  • Availability of a "fact sheet" or an executive summary document containing concise summary information on the site and response action proposed, with contact number/e-mail to request
  • Solicitation of written or oral comments on the proposed response action within the specified public comment period of at least 30 days, the address and e-mail to send comments; who to call for questions
  • If a public meeting scheduled - date, time, and location of the meeting

Note: Publication date of the public notice is the official start of the public comment period (at least 30 calendar days).

Public notices are typically posted for one or two days in the “Public Notices” section of a general circulation newspaper in the county affected by the response action. An example Public Notice for a Draft RAM is provided in Section 18.5.13.

The HEER Office project manager for the site also will send a copy of the public notice to the HDOH Office of Environmental Quality Control (OEQC) bulletin editor for publication in The Environmental Notice. The OEQC publishes this bulletin every two weeks to inform the public of all projects being proposed in the State that are subject to public review and comment.

In some cases, the HEER Office project manager may send notice or request notice information be sent via direct mail or e-mail to directly inform known interested parties about the proposed response action, and to solicit their review and input.

  • Known community groups in the site area (e.g., community/neighborhood associations or councils)
  • Property owners surrounding the site
  • Political representatives of the site area (i.e., City or County Council member(s), Legislative Senator/Representative from the site area)
  • Public interest groups, if known and likely to have interest
  • Other interested parties, if known

16.3.3 Preparing a Final Response Action Memorandum (Final RAM)

The HEER Office will consider all written, verbal, and e-mail comments on the Draft RAM and assess whether the preferred remedy selection decision is appropriate, make a final remedy selection decision, and document the decision by preparing a Final RAM for inclusion in the site administrative record. The Final RAM is HDOH's official decision on how the site is to be cleaned up. If the HEER Office decides there will be no changes to the preferred remedy identified in the Draft RAM, the Final RAM will be the same as the Draft RAM with the exception of the addition of the "Responsiveness Summary," a summary of HEER Office responses to public comments received on the Draft RAM.

In some cases, new information could be collected in the public comment period, after publication of the Draft RAM but before the HEER Office's final remedy selection decision that may substantially change the consideration of the performance or costs associated with the preferred remedy. In such cases, the HEER Office's choice of a final remedy may differ from the preferred remedy presented in the Draft RAM. If the changes to a Draft RAM selected by the HEER Office could be reasonably anticipated based on the information in the Draft RAM, the HEER Office may simply amend the Final RAM to include a discussion of the changes and the reasons for such changes.

If the selected remedy is significantly different from the preferred remedy in the Draft RAM, the HEER Office will provide additional public notice, and seek additional public comment on a revised Draft RAM, which includes a discussion of the changes and the reasons for such changes, before making a final remedy selection.

Additional public notice is not required when a final remedy selection decision is made. However, it is recommended that notice be given to interested parties as a courtesy.

Section 18.5.13 presents detailed contents recommendations for the Final RAM, which includes a "Responsiveness Summary" that provides specific HEER Office responses to the public comments received.