Asbestos Abatement at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport HNL: HI Dept of Transportation Airports

In an ongoing effort to reduce environmental hazards at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), the Hawaii Department of Transportation Airports Division (DOTA) partnered with Oceanit to modernize and enhance HNL facilities. Oceanit provided construction management services for work focused on air conditioning modifications and asbestos abatement in Terminal 2, known as the “Overseas Terminal,” the largest of the three passenger terminals at HNL, which serves half of the airport’s annual passengers.

To improve the passenger experience at HNL, high-capacity air conditioning equipment was replaced and renewed in the International Arrivals Building (IAB) roof and in the basement. Additionally, Oceanit managed the replacement of old Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) units—systems used to regulate the temperature in buildings—on the roof, and in the basement. New chilled water lines were installed in the basement level and on the ground floor to support the new HVAC system.

To modernize the airport’s public safety, Oceanit provided consultation services to DOTA to mitigate original construction asbestos hazards. Asbestos, a mineral fiber known for its flame resistance was widely used in various building construction materials prior to the 1980s, in materials such as roofing shingles, insulation, textured paint for walls and ceilings, floor tiles, and as blanket or tape to coat hot water and steam pipes.

However, exposure to asbestos fibers released into the air can cause harmful health effects, such as several types of cancer. Fibers can be released into the air when asbestos-containing material is disturbed or damaged, making it imperative to isolate or remove the asbestos in older buildings.

As of March 2024, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) prohibited the ongoing use of the only known form of asbestos currently distributed in the U.S. and recommended that building owners and managers follow an operations and maintenance program to develop and maintain buildings with asbestos-containing materials.

Oceanit analyzed the condition of the asbestos in the terminal, isolating affected areas from the surrounding environment, and providing an asbestos operations and maintenance plan. Oceanit’s plan outlined the location of asbestos, monitoring procedures, handling protocols, and labeling requirements. Additionally, Oceanit conducted asbestos awareness training for airline and airport workers in the building, educating them on how to avoid disturbing asbestos and what to do in the event of accidental disturbance.

Oceanit, with its expertise in construction management and safety consultation, is playing an ongoing role in the modernization project at HNL. The installation of new HVAC units and chilled water lines, along with comprehensive consultation services for asbestos hazard reduction, is just one of the recent projects that shows the teams commitment to providing cutting-edge solutions that prioritize both comfort and safety.

Other projects Oceanit has worked on or completed for DOTA at HNL include invasive mangrove removal from Ke’ehi Lagoon, resolving the water infiltration in the airport’s basements, boarding gate facial biometrics implementation, and planning for new, modern TSA fencing for HNL using nanocomposite corrosion protection.