Central Maui’s inland sand in decline

Nearly 2 million tons of sand have been removed from Central Maui since 2006, leaving it either depleted or very soon to be depleted and unable to replenish the island’s beaches that need some 158,000 tons of sand, according to a new study released Tuesday on sand availability in the county.

Department of Public Works Director David Goode released the study, which served as an update to a 2006 study, and sent a letter to Council Member Elle Cochran recommending that sand not be exported off-island. He added that the sand could be excavated and stockpiled in the county to benefit Maui residents, as long as the removal is not detrimental to cultural artifacts.

“As in 2006, the situation today is that we will someday relatively soon run out of inland sand to use for a variety of uses, including concrete manufacturing, bedding for pipes, beach replenishment, volleyball courts, sandbags for flood protection, etc.,” Goode wrote in the letter. “The 2018 study notes that sand is being imported from places such as British Columbia, or substituted with other materials for use in concrete products, which adds cost, time, uncertainty, and could be adding our carbon footprint.”

The 30-page study prepared by SSFM International Inc. was originally requested by Mayor Alan Arakawa and subsequently the County Council in response to concerns about a contractor removing and shipping truckloads of sand to Oahu from a Maui Lani housing project in 2017.

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