DOT to pay $1.2 million for stormwater violations at Honolulu, Kalaeloa harbors

Honolulu Harbor

The Hawaii Dept. of Transportation will pay a $1.2 million penalty for federal Clean Water Act stormwater violations at the Honolulu and Kalaeloa harbors on Oahu.

The department says it is also making “good progress” with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Hawaii Dept. of Health to correct those violations.

Inspections by the EPA and the Dept. of Health in 2008 found trash and chemicals on HDOT land could enter the water through runoff.

“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.”

HDOT said in a statement that it “looks forward to continued support and guidance from those agencies as we address these important issue.”

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 Hawaii DOT has already made major strides in improving storm water run-off management plans in its Highways and Airports Divisions,” said HDOT interim director Ford Fuchigami. “The creation of the environmental compliance office will ensure that HDOT has staff strictly focused on environmental issues across all divisions.”

Other improvements as outlined by the department include new and post-construction Best Management Practices and ongoing training for employees, harbor users and tenants.

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