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EPA ISSUES REVISED LIST OF POLLUTED WATERS IN HAWAII

Release Date: 11/19/2001
Contact Information: Mike Ardito, US EPA,(415) 972-3081

     SAN FRANCISCO   The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced results of a court-ordered review of Hawaii's 1998 list of polluted waters, which concluded that 30 coastal waters and 81 streams show evidence of  impairment by pollutants including sediments, nutrients, bacteria and trash.  

     A court order issued by Judge David Ezra in September mandated the EPA's review of Hawaii's 1998 list of polluted waters.  The EPA based the revised list on water quality data collected from 1993 to 1998 and on-site visits to nearly 100 water bodies in 1996-97.  The EPA is seeking public comment on this revised list of polluted water bodies.

     "Hawaii's water pollution problems are usually along shorelines and in middle-to-lower reaches of streams where silt and excess nutrients damage the environment," said Gary Gill, deputy director for environmental health at the Hawaii Department of Health.  "Reduced stream water flow, alien plants and animal species, and concrete channels also harm many of our streams, " he said.

     "The revised list will help EPA and Hawaii Department of Health focus on specific polluted beaches and streams, and on how we can address causes of the pollution such as runoff from urban and agricultural areas," said Alexis Strauss, the EPA's Pacific Southwest water division director.

     In the case of Hihiwai Stream Restoration Coalition et al. v. EPA, the court found that the EPA's approval of Hawaii's 1998 list of polluted waters was in error.  Today's action increases by 92 water bodies the previous list of 19 polluted waters named by the HDOH in 1998.

     Most of the apparently polluted waters are streams in urban and agricultural areas, coastal bays and estuaries, and harbors.  The list includes 58 Oahu waters,  15 on Maui, 20 on Hawaii, 2 on Molokai, and 16 on Kauai.  In addition to previously recognized pollution problems in water bodies such as the Ala Wai Canal, Honolulu Harbor, and Pearl Harbor, the list includes Hanauma Bay, Kuhio Beach, and other swimming beaches.

      The HDOH considered the available information in 1998 to be inadequate to list more than 19 polluted waters in the state.  Since 1998, the HDOH has revised its water quality monitoring program and will issue a new list of polluted  waters in October 2002 based on all available water quality information.  Under the federal Clean Water Act, states must periodically issue lists of the polluted waters in the state.

  The federal Clean Water Act requires water quality assessments to identify pollutant sources and set allowable pollutant loads for water bodies identified by states as polluted.  The Clean Water Act calls these water quality assessments "total maximum daily loads," or TMDLs.

The revised list of polluted water bodies and the request for public comment may be found on the EPA's website at: http:/www.epa.gov/region09/water/tmdl/303d.html.

   Comments on the list of impaired waters should be directed to David Smith, TMDL Team Leader, EPA Region IX, WTR-2, 75 Hawthorne St., San Francisco, CA 94105.

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