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Coluccio Construction Co. and Castle Family LLC fined for Oahu wetlands violations

Release Date: 01/31/2008
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, 808-541-2711, higuchi.dean@epa.gov

(01/31/08) HONOLULU – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today fined Frank Coluccio Construction Co. and Castle Family LLC. a total of $68,000 for filling sensitive wetlands adjacent to Hamakua Stream in Kailua, Oahu without federal permits.

“We will protect the Kailua wetlands from illegal filling and ensure it is restored to provide water bird habitat, flood storage, and protect the island’s coastal water quality,” said Alexis Strauss, water division director for the EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “When wetlands are filled, these important ecological functions are lost. Any discharge of fill to wetlands or streams requires a federal permit.”

In response to complaints by Kailua residents, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers informed Coluccio and Kaneohe Ranch Company, Ltd., the Castle Family LLC property manager, that Clean Water Act permits were required for the filling of wetlands. Under an agreement with Castle Family LLC, Coluccio had cleared wetland vegetation at the site to create a project equipment and materials staging area.

In February 2005, the Hawaii Department of Health and EPA officials inspected the site and noted that large stockpiles of excavated soil and rock had been dumped into the wetland habitat, although neither company had obtained the required permit. Coluccio filled just under one acre of wetlands which are part of a larger system running from Kawainui Marsh to Kaelepulu Pond and the Pacific Ocean.

The EPA then ordered the companies to develop and implement a plan to remove the fill from the wetlands and restore the habitat with native plants and appropriate re-grading. The companies also must monitor the restoration site, evaluate its success, and submit annual reports to EPA for up to 5 years.

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