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EPA Issues Enforcement Order Against Hawai'i Department of Transportation for Kaua'i Project

Release Date: 10/30/2002
Contact Information: Mike Ardito, 415-972-3081

     SAN FRANCISCO - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today ordered the Hawai'i Department of Transportation's Highway Division to immediately comply with Clean Water Act requirements regarding a project in Lihue, Kaua'i.

     The EPA alleges that unauthorized stormwater discharges ran off the construction site at 1720 Haleukana Street into Puhi Stream, a tributary to Nawiliwili Bay and the Pacific Ocean, from March through Sept. 19.  The division also failed to implement practices specified in the project's stormwater pollution control plan designed to reduce levels of pollutants in stormwater runoff.

     "The EPA takes these violations seriously because HDOT's Highways Division was previously issued two EPA compliance orders for stormwater violations at other construction sites.  EPA and the Hawaii Department of Health met several times with the Highways Division regarding these compliance matters," said Catherine Kuhlman, the EPA's acting director for water programs in the Pacific Southwest region.  "We were therefore extremely surprised at these violations.  HDOT is subject to civil penalties."

     During a site visit Sept. 17, EPA and Hawai'i Department of Health inspectors discovered that the Lihue project began in March, six months before the division applied for a stormwater discharge permit.   Owners and operators of property with future construction must file for a permit at least 30 days before beginning construction work on five or more acres.
 
     Today's EPA order requires the division to immediately and fully comply with the permit and within one week submit to the EPA a report certifying the Lihue project is in compliance.  The division must fully implement a program of inspections for all its ongoing construction projects statewide that have disturbed or will disturb at least five acres through March 9, 2003, or disturb one acre of land beginning March 10.

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