Hawaii News Concrete put into stream costing city $1.2 million By Star-Advertiser Staff and News Services April 19, 2012 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! COURTESY CARROLL COXConcrete was dumped in a portion of Mailiili Stream in Waianae by the city in 2009. Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. The city has agreed to pay $1.2 million for water quality improvements on the Waianae Coast to settle a state Health Department fine for dumping truckloads of concrete slabs 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 announced Wednesday. 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 penalty. A Health Department hearing office found that the city had violated the law and upheld the fine. The 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 consistent with the 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 stormwater receptors or trash removal devices, the Health Department said. The public has until May 14 to comment on the proposed settlement. The Health Department cited the city’s Department of Facility Maintenance Road Division for discharging concrete and debris without a permit or variance from Feb. 2, 2008, to May 9, 2009. Workers were unaware that permits were needed for placing concrete on the banks of the channel, a city spokesman said. "The Department of Facility Maintenance has improved its procedures to prevent this type of incident from happening again, and this settlement will allow the city to focus its resources on projects that mutually benefit the city and state, instead of continued litigation," Director Westley Chun said in a statement Wednesday. Lucy Gay, who teaches a seniors’ computer literacy course that has a civic engagement component at the Waianae campus of Leeward Community College, took her students to the stream after an environmental activist alerted her to the concrete. "We saw large chunks of concrete in the stream, on the bank of the stream. It looked like workers took great pains to try to lay them out," she said. Gay, along with activist Carroll Cox, reported the concrete to the Army Corps of Engineers, which referred the case to the EPA. The most troubling aspect was how concrete would affect nesting birds, they said. "It’s total disregard on the part of our city officials," Gay said. "It wasn’t just that they dumped in the stream, but it’s the nature of the stream." She said while she applauds the settlement, she would like to see something that addresses the birds: "If we’re going to fine them, let’s put it back into what was harmed." Cox said the settlement is disappointing because it doesn’t address who’s to blame and who will be punished. "It’s a do-nothing response." The stream is about two miles mauka of Farrington Highway in an area frequented by endangered Hawaiian stilts. Previous Story Publishing industry angry that Pulitzers snubbed fiction Next Story Changes afoot to TheBus routes 'not a done deal'