New law puts responsibility of waterway maintenance on property owners

There’s finally a solution to a smelly problem in Salt Lake that has plagued residents for years.

We first told you in 2015 that a smelly canal belonging to Honolulu Country Club was making some nearby residents sick.

Multiple permits were needed in order to get the stream cleared since it’s on private property.

On Tuesday, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed Bill 43 into law, which makes it clear that private property owners are responsible for the maintenance of channels, streambeds, streambanks and drainageways, and that these waterways must not create unsanitary conditions or become a public nuisance.

This new law also impacts other areas of the island.

For example, “what’s happening in Mapunapuna as a result of these owners who are not maintaining their waterways on their properties. There’s flooding that occurs when you see the king tides or when you see heavy rains like (Tropical Storm) Darby from last year,” said Honolulu City Council member Joey Manahan.

The bill also clarifies that the city Department of Facility Maintenance has the authority to enforce the maintenance of waterways on private property.

If owners don’t comply, they can be fined $500 per day for each violation.

“If the problem persists, like unsanitary or unhelpful conditions persist, we go and clean it ourselves or do whatever it takes to mitigate the source of the unsanitary conditions and we assess reimbursement to those private owners,” said Eduardo Manglallan, the department’s deputy director. “(The impact to) taxpayers should be minimal.”

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