- Associated Press - Thursday, July 16, 2015

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is planning to remove explosives from areas of a former defense site on the northwest side of the Big Island.

The plan comes after the federal department of housing stopped issuing some communities grants and loan guarantees over unexploded munitions found in the area, West Hawaii Today reported (http://bit.ly/1f7P6Uo).

Four sites in the Waikoloa Maneuver Area are included in the plan. The area spanned 123,000 acres and functioned as an artillery range and training facility around World War II.

Project estimates peg the cost at $723 million with a 70-year timeline for completion.

Project manager Walter Nagai says the agency can’t guarantee the plan will remove all unexploded munitions on the island.

Educating children about what to do if they spot something that looks like an explosive is part of the corps’ plan.

“There’s no way to guarantee we got everything, so we need to educate folks that this was a former training area,” he said.

The public can comment on the plan until Aug. 14.

“We want to hear from people. That will help us reach a decision,” Nagai said.

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Information from: West Hawaii Today, http://www.westhawaiitoday.com

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