Lava burned its way further into the former Pahoa transfer, recycling and reuse center today, though as of late afternoon, the center’s buildings hadn’t been hit yet. Hawaii Volcano Observatory noted that a small tongue of lava had broken in on lower side of the truck driveway that circled the buildings, and that “This road is quite a bit lower than the transfer station buildings, and it will likely take a few days for it to fill up, if the breakout remains active.”
“So far damage is just the fingers of lava that have come down sides and burnt some asphalt. Well, that and the fence and drainage ditch outside the fence which is now filled with lava. So far no damage to the buildings at [the] transfer station. Lava is like watching slow molasses and feels like Chinese water torture,” Environmental Management Department head Bobby Jean Leithead Todd told the Chronicle.
At 4:45 p.m., Civil Defense reported that a lobe of lava was burning asphalt in the center’s “rear driveway area,” and that all other smoke from active lava today was due to burning vegetation. The current flows pose no immediate threat to residents, but the smoke might for those with sensitivity or respiratory conditions. Civil Defense described smoke conditions as “moderate to heavy.”
In addition to the lava at the transfer station, another lobe is active in the area of the cemetery and a third is pushing down to about 390 yards upslope of Apa`a Street. Lava is also encroaching further on the cemetery itself, approaching “right up to the edge” of a previously untouched shelter there, according to Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (See photos below).
According to Leithead Todd, the county was evaluating a number of possible sites for a replacement for the transfer station/recycling/reuse center, which opened in 2011 at a cost of $3,907,494, but the final site selection is being delayed by uncertainty about where, exactly, the lava will go. “Additionally construction of a permanent site and its selection would require at a minimum an EA and possibly a full-blown EIS ,which would need to evaluate the pros and cons of different sites before selection of a site could occur,’ she said.
Above: Hawaiian Volcano Observatory’s map of the lava flow as of 7 a.m., this morning. In addition to the flows near the transfer station and the cemetery, note the large finger that’s extending relatively rapidly mauka of Apa`a Street.
Below: photos from the HVO Web site showing lava activity at the transfer station, (below, top) seen from the east-northeast, and the cemetery (bottom): note the green-roofed shelter building, which is threatened by an inflating ridge of lava.