The land use will allow expanded training and activities of the Marine Corps, Army, Army Reserves, and Hawaii Army National Guard. Amphibious assault units will be able to land and make the transition to combat ashore in a realistic manner. Training capabilities will include the use of Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC), a large hover craft that is capable of deploying large pieces of equipment to the beach and performing tactical crossings of Waimanalo Stream. A second helicopter landing zone parallel to the existing landing zone will allow for night flying with Night Vision Goggle (NVG) training, external sling load training, and forward area refueling point training. An existing water parachute drop zone will be positioned farther offshore.
The FEIS states: "Training has the potential to affect wetlands and stream banks, where training operations require crossing Waimanalo Stream. These impacts can be partially avoided and mitigated by crossing only at preselected locations and by requiring vehicles to use existing or tactical bridges or fords placed at these designated locations."
Other uses explored are two sites for military enlisted personnel housing, of up to 500 units total. The FEIS notes that housing would have "significant impacts... that cannot be acceptably mitigated." The social impact on the community would include an 18% increase in population, and an increase of 150 to 300 students into the Waimanalo School system. The FEIS states that "Kalanianaole Highway would be saturated during peak hours... To correct the problem, a four-lane road would be required through Waimanalo Town. This is neither feasible or desirable." Other impacts would include upgrading the Waimanalo Wastewater Treatment Plant, and storm drainage mitigation.
Noise modeling based on measurements at sites on Bellows was used to determine probable levels of helicopter noise at Waimanalo Elementary and Intermediate School during a helicopter training exercise. In a worst case, a CH-53 in stationary hover at 200 feet above the Landing Zone, would produce an L(max) estimated to be 57 dBA.
Noises at night after 10:00 pm are penalized 10 dBA. Most of Waimanalo Village, about one mile south of the LZ, will be within the 55 Ldn noise contour during night time training activities.
The noise measurement tests for small arms fire employed four M-16 rifles and two M-249 machine guns. A typical training exercise could involve as many as 100 rifles and three to nine machine guns. Based on these figures, the acoustical consultant calculated a necessary setback of from 2,300 to 4,000 yard, considering no attenuation from undergrowth, to satisfy the Department of Health (DOH) noise regulation for gunfire. Even considering attenuation from dense undergrowth, the setback distances are estimated to be 500 to 600 yards to attain DOH's daytime level of 65 dBA. A buffer area of 984 feet is intended to mitigate the noise of small arms fire.
The Air Force is currently conducting a clean up of Bellows AFS. A 1994 Preliminary Assessment and Site Inspection identified 17 IRP sites (with potential for contamination) and an additional nine areas of concerns. The Bellows FEIS also identifies an area that was used in the mid and late 1930s as a gunnery range. Another site was used for the handling and storage of munitions from the 1930s through the 1960s. This site has the potential to contain unexploded ordnance.
The thirty day comment period for the Final Environmental Impact Statement for Bellows AFS ends on January 16, 1996. Written comments should be postmarked not later than January 16, 1996 and be addressed to:
Gary Kasaoka (Code 231GK)
Naval Facilities Engineering Command
Pearl Harbor HI 96860-7300
Review comments can be faxed to 474-4890, addressed to Code 231GK. Telephone inquiries can be made by calling 471-9338.
The FEIS will inform USCINCPAC, the decision maker, of the relevant environmental issues, public comments and needed mitigation. USCINCPAC will then issue a Record of Decision, which will include mitigation commitments.