The Hawaii State Department of Health ordered the cleanup of the site of a former race track, known as Kalaeloa Raceway Park, Wednesday after finding hazardous wastes and used oil there.

The property, owned by the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, had been leased to Save Oahu’s Race Tracks LLC, but the DHHL revoked the lease last year after a long dispute over delinquent rent and utility payments.

As the landowner, the DHHL found itself in violation of environmental regulations for the waste left behind by the race track operator and must submit a “corrective action plan” to the DOH for the cleanup.

Kalaeloa Raceway Park

Kalaeloa Raceway Park

“As a major landowner and lessor in Hawaii, DHHL will be required to properly dispose of remaining hazardous wastes and conduct a site characterization of the property for contaminants associated with the automotive and race track operations to determine the magnitude of contamination and risks that it presents to human health and the environment,” the DOL said in a statement.

The DHHL released its own statement saying it’s “extremely concerned about the hazardous waste,” and that it “recognizes its responsibility to its beneficiaries and to the general public to address any hazardous materials and contaminants, regardless of the fact that it was the direct result of the actions of SORT.”

But it added that it “does not agree with all of the allegations or inferences” in the DOH’s order and announced that it’s contesting it “in an effort to assure that it accurately reflects SORT’s involvement and DHHL’s responsibility as the landowner.”

At the same time, the DHHL is taking SORT to the court, seeking damages over the cost of the cleanup.

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