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Press Release

Integral Completes Study and Action Plan for Soil at 23 Schools on the Island of Hawaii

By Silvia Gianetti Barber, Senior Consultant
William Cutler, Ph.D., P.G., Associate of Integral
Man in field

Integral staff sampled soil at 23 schools and then developed action plans for each of them.

Now students and teachers can learn more about remedial actions for lead, arsenic, or chlordane in the soil on school grounds.  A Hawaii Department of Education (DOE) study of 23 schools identified locations of elevated concentrations and provides a plan to manage those areas. 

The DOE study was conducted to assess potential human health hazards in building exterior soil at various schools on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Integral team members, led by Principal William Cutler, Ph.D., P.G., and Consultant Silvia Barber, began the assessment project in 2016, as part of a contract with DOE to ensure any areas with soil above state action levels were identified and managed.  Working closely with regulators, Integral developed school-specific interim action plans for use and implementation to support remedial action.  

Using a combination of field screening and laboratory analyses, Integral assisted the Hawaii DOE in determining the extent of arsenic, lead, and chlordane above relevant screening levels. An innovative yet proven technique, known as field-portable x-ray fluorescence (XRF), enabled rapid results by providing preliminary indications of elevated arsenic and lead in the field. This screening of site soil led to reduced investigation costs. 

Working along with regulators, Integral created project-specific action levels and a corresponding set of remedial actions based on human health risk.  Integral staff worked with individual schools to incorporate interim and long-term actions for the area, such as covering, removing, or replacing soil.

Integral also developed a framework environmental hazard management plan (EHMP) to apply to all public schools across the state of Hawaii. The plan is a living document that will help DOE manage soils containing hazardous substances. School-specific interim EHMPs were produced to address specific situations of concern at various schools.

Lead, arsenic, and chlordane in soil can be found in areas throughout Hawaii from historical uses such as lead in paint, arsenic in herbicides, and chlordane in termiticides.  Arsenic also occurs naturally in soils.  The Hawaii Department of Health establishes action levels to ensure elevated levels are identified and addressed. 

The Soil Assessment Findings report documents the results of sampling and analysis of soils in open spaces and along building perimeters at various schools.  Learn more.

For more information on Integral’s role in the study, contact Silvia Barber at For more information on the study itself, contact Gary Bignami at DOE at