Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, 808-541-2711, [email protected]
HONOLULU – The U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Hawaii Department of Health have reached an agreement with the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) that requires the department to pay a $1.2 million penalty and correct federal Clean Water Act stormwater violations at the Honolulu and Kalaeloa Harbors on Oahu.
“Stormwater discharges pollute Hawaii’s streams and coastal waters,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “By making long-term changes to its operations, HDOT is taking major steps to increase the protection of beaches, coral reefs and water quality on Oahu.”
Inspections by EPA and DOH in December 2008 first identified the Clean Water Act stormwater violations at the harbor facilities. Stormwater runoff from unpaved land areas, paved streets and maintenance yards contains contaminants such as sediments, trash, chemicals, and oils that can flow into waterways and coastal zones, resulting in environmental damage. By creating a system of project review and oversight inspections, installing treatment systems, and exercising better control over tenant activities, HDOT can significantly reduce the amount of pollutants discharged in stormwater runoff.
“Storm water carries contamination from the land into the ocean; this is the biggest source of water pollution in our islands,” said Gary Gill, Department of Health Deputy Director for Environmental Health. “All landowners are responsible to protect our streams and coastlines. With this case settled, we can expect our state government to be a better steward of Hawaii’s clean waters.”
The $1.2 million in penalties will be divided equally between the State of Hawaii and the United States, and the settlement requires HDOT to undertake a variety of actions to improve the management of stormwater runoff at the two harbors, including:
· Create a new Office of Environmental Compliance to ensure all HDOT facilities comply with federal, state and local environmental regulations. Develop a stormwater prevention outreach and training program to communicate with the public using harbor facilities, to inform the public about how their activities impact the quality of stormwater runoff.
· Rank all harbor tenants annually based on their activities and risk of pollutant discharges. Inspect all high risk tenants twice per year, medium risk tenants once per year, and low risk tenants every five years.
· Inspect stormwater outfalls during wet and dry weather for the presence of non-stormwater discharges, and assess the physical condition of each outfall to determine if maintenance is needed.
· Establish a comprehensive Construction Runoff Control Program to control discharges from sites subject to new development or redevelopment. HDOT will study the feasibility of retrofitting construction projects, and complete at least three retrofits.
The consent decree for this settlement has been lodged with the federal district court by the U.S. Department of Justice and is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval. A copy of the decree is available on the Department of Justice website at: http://www.justice.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html