POSTED: 9:15 a.m. HST, Apr 18, 2012
LAST UPDATED: 9:18 a.m. HST, Apr 18, 2012
The city agreed to pay a $1.2 million to support water quality improvements on the Waianae Coast to settle a state Health Department fine for dumping truckloads of concrete slabs for two years into a West Oahu stream used by endangered Hawaiian birds.
In addition, the city will build $200,000 worth of new projects, bringing the total settlement to $1.4 million, the Health Department said.
The city was fined for violations of the Clean Water Act after workers dumped 257 truckloads of concrete waste in Mailiili Steam in Waianae in 2008 and 2009. The city was ordered to pay a $1,7 million administrative penalty. A Health Hepartment hearing office found that the city had violated the law and upheld the fine amount. The city had appealed that decision to the First Circuit Court.
The Health Department said the money will be used:
>>To fund a computerized environmental information sharing project so the public can track permitted facilities in their communities.
>>To develop a Mailiili Watershed Management Plan that will facilitate the funding of future projects to protect Leeward Oahu water quality.
>>To fund community-based water quality improvement projects in the Mailiili area that are consistent with the new watershed plan.
The city will invest $200,000 in stormwater control projects to improve water quality in the Mailiili area. Projects could include the construction of swales, pervious pavement, stormceptors or trash removal devices, the Health Department said.
The Health Department cited the city's Department of Facility Maintenance's Road Division for discharging 257 truckloads of concrete and debris without a permit or variance. The truckloads were placed in Mailiili Stream from Feb. 2, 2008, to May 9, 2009.
The city then said putting the concrete slabs on the banks of the channel was not illegal dumping. Workers were unaware that environmental permits were needed for placing concrete on the banks of the channel, a city spokesman said..
The stream is about two miles mauka of Farrington Highway in an area frequented by endangered Hawaiian stilts.
The watchdog group EnviroWatch Inc. requested the investigation in June 2009 after it received complaints from city workers.