The city has found a contractor to clean up and repair the lead paint problems at Honolulu Hale, but even the low bid price came in at a cost about double of what had been projected.

Department of Design and Construction Director Lori Kahikina said in March that the “emergency procurement” to scrape off any peeling paint and encapsulate any intact lead paint would cost between $100,000 and $150,000, and said the work would start in late April.

On Tuesday, the first day of May, Carlisle press secretary Louise Kim McCoy said in an email response to questions from Civil Beat that a contract with Unitek actually cost approximately $250,000. Work hasn’t started yet — it’s expected to begin “in the next couple of weeks,” McCoy said — and will take about two months to complete because it’ll only be done on nights and weekends.

Meanwhile, lead paint remains at city hall.

In a report released in February, a city consultant said that 116 of 245 lead wipe samples collected from floors, windowsills, ceiling tiles, shelves and file cabinets all over Honolulu Hale revealed detectable levels of lead, and 23 of the samples were above the acceptable risk level established by the federal government.

Lead generally poses a risk to young children, but the report urged the city to clean up to avoid worker exposure.

The report shows where the highest concentrations of the contaminated dust were found — some much higher than the limits of 40 micrograms per square foot on the floor or 250 micrograms per square foot on windowsills.

  • 1,600 micrograms per square foot on the window sill in the lunch room on the third floor
  • 1,600 micrograms per square foot in the basement’s air handler room
  • 520 micrograms per square foot on the window sill in the stairwell on the second floor
  • 1,100 micrograms per square foot on the floor of a stairwell on the seventh floor

The report, which cost $31,000 to produce, had been commissioned after city attorneys in the Corporation Counsel Department discovered a problem area in their law library, and an early review found some mold. Leaks and humid conditions at the Hale were found to be the cause of the mold.

The Unitek contract for lead cleanup does not cover mold mitigation — that’s being handled by city workers.

“This is not the type of mold that requires people to move out of the area or use a mask or anything,” McCoy said in March.

She said Tuesday that the Department of Facility Maintenance used in-house staff to clean up of areas where mold was seen by the consultant, and continues to work to replace ceiling tiles with water stains.

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