'Krauss Lagoon' a case of environmental vandalism - Ka Leo O Hawaii: News

'Krauss Lagoon' a case of environmental vandalism

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Posted: Thursday, October 6, 2011 12:00 am

Krauss Hall Pond is still green, but not because of a mythical creature or the neglect of the landscape maintenance team. It's no algal buildup or filth, either. It's a case of vandalism via organic green dye.

An unknown person or group of persons dumped green dye into the koi and duck pond. There are no cameras set up behind Krauss, so nothing was documented when the incident occurred.

After an investigation was launched, officers from the Environmental Health and Safety Office conducted tests of the water on Sept. 27 and found that the dye formed a layer approximately 1.5-2.5 inches thick. The results were sent out on Sept. 28 with a recommendation from ESHO to bring in a professional to deal with the cleanup and disposal of the contaminated water.

"[We] cannot pump [the green water] into the sewer or onto the lawn. We have to get a pump truck in to try and reconfigure the pond," explained Roxanne Adams, interim director of Buildings and Grounds Management.

It was estimated by the recommended vendor that it would cost $1.50 per gallon of water to clean up the pond. The pond is estimated at 15,000 gallons, resulting in a total cost of $22,500 for the university.

Fortunately, the perpetrators used organic dye, so the wildlife in the surrounding area (ducks, feral cats, fish and turtles) is not being harmed. Adams explained that the water was tested last week to make sure it was nontoxic.

Buildings and Grounds Management did not receive a report until a week before last, but Adams said they filed a vandalism report with Campus Security on Sept. 30. Assistant Vice Chancellor for Facilities and Grounds David Hafner initiated the complaint to Adams. Adams stressed that when students see something strange or downright bad around campus, they should contact either landscape maintenance or security personnel. Without any knowledge, she said the problem will persist and inaccurate conclusions may be reached.

"We really want to serve the university, and especially the student body," Adams said in a phone interview.

The case has been referred to the legal department for further review.

Staff writer Matt Sylva contributed to this report.

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