2021-02-21: Update on CSO Decommissioning

The Caltech Submillimeter Observatory (CSO) decommissioning team is working with oversight agencies on final plans to remove the facility from Mauna Kea, with Summer 2022 targeted for that work to begin.

The final draft of the Site Decommissioning Plan (SDP) was submitted to the University of Hawaii in January 2021 and we anticipate the Mauna Kea Management Board (MKMB) will review it soon at a public meeting. The CSO team will review the input from the meeting and update the SDP, if warranted.

Caltech's next planning steps are the Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) and Conservation District Use Application (CDUA). Caltech commissioned studies to inform its analysis, including an archeological assessment, cultural setting analysis, hydrogeological evaluation, biological inventory, biological setting analysis, traffic analysis, and an asbestos/lead paint/mold survey.

The EA and CDUA also will go to MKMB and the public for comment. Then, with the SDP attached, they will be submitted the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. If all goes according to plan, we anticipate DLNR will hold a hearing, with public comment period, and we will have three public workshops toward the end of 2021.

The CSO team hopes to receive approval on the Final Environmental Assessment and be granted the Conservation District Use Permit (CDUP) early in 2022. If that is the case, Caltech intends to begin the deconstruction and restoration in the summer of 2022.

Operations at the observatory ended in 2015 and all of the astronomical instruments have been removed from inside. CSO's 10.4-meter radio telescope went online in 1987 for research by astronomers at Caltech and other institutions, including more than 200 students.

“We are grateful for the use of Mauna Kea for nearly three decades for astronomical research,” says Sunil Golwala, director of the CSO and a professor of physics at Caltech. “We are undertaking the decommissioning process respectfully and look forward to working with the Center for Maunakea Stewardship, University of Hawaii at Hilo, and the community.”

Caltech is working with the team of M3 Engineering, & Technology, Planning Solutions, Inc., and Hastings & Pleadwell: A Communication Company for project planning, permit applications, communication and community outreach related to the CSO decommissioning.

More information is available at http://www.cso.caltech.edu/wiki/csooutreach/outreach.

Media Contact: Barbara A. Hastings, Hastings & Pleadwell, bah@hastingsandpleadwell.com, (808) 959-0797.

cso/outreach/2021-02-12.txt · Last modified: 2023-08-28 16:38 by admin
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