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EPA announces Hawai’i environmental enforcement accomplishments for 2006; Water pollution related cases highlight year
Release Date: 11/15/2006
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi (808) 541-2711
( 11/14/06 -- HONOLULU ) HONOLULU – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s enforcement actions in Hawai’i for 2006 brought environmental and public benefits for the state’s residents as polluters committed to more than $95 million to correct environmental violations and prevent future pollution.
Included in the amount will be over $1.1 million in commitments from the Hawai’i Department of Transportation to fund community projects with expanded environmental benefits.
This year continues the successful efforts from the past five years in terms of polluters making on-the-ground improvements. The continued cesspool upgrades, the largest stormwater settlement to date nationally against a private landowner with James Pflueger, and the settlement of stormwater violations statewide with the Hawai’i Department of Transportation, lead the year’s accomplishments to protect the environment.
“The Pflueger and HDOT settlements and the replacement of over 350 large capacity cesspools will provide Hawai’i residents continued enjoyment of cleaner water and land areas,” said Wayne Nastri, administrator of the EPA’s Pacific Southwest Office. “EPA will continue working to enforce environmental laws and ensure compliance of environmental regulations to improve public health.”
* Pflueger Stormwater: A nearly $7.5 million settlement with James Pflueger over Clean Water Act violations associated with construction activities on Pflueger’s property at Pila’a on the island of Kaua’i. The settlement included payment of $2 million in penalties to the State of Hawai’i and the United States, and Pflueger will spend approximately $5.3 million to prevent erosion and restore streams at areas impacted by the construction activity.
* Hawai’i Dept. of Transportation Stormwater: The agreement with the Hawai’i Department of Transportation requires the department to pay a $1 million penalty and spend an estimated $60 million to address Clean Water Act storm water violations at highways and airports in Hawai’i. The settlement requires HDOT to take a variety of actions over the next five years to improve management of storm water runoff from its highways and airports. HDOT will also spend over $1.1 million on developing environmental management systems for its facilities statewide and spend $60,000 on projects providing compliance assistance to construction and development firms.
* Large Capacity Cesspools: Compliance agreements were reached with the Hawai’i Department of Education, spending $22 million to replace and close over 320 large capacity cesspools throughout the state. In addition, the County of Hawai’i will spend $5 million to replace and close 30 large capacity cesspools on the Big Island. Finally, a settlement was reached requiring Costco to install wastewater treatment and pay a fine of $75,000 for failing to close and replace three large capacity cesspools at its Kona facility on the Big Island.
* Wetlands restoration: D & J Ocean Farm, Inc. was ordered to restore sensitive wetlands at Kalaeloa on Molokai that were illegally filled. The order requires the company to remove soil and other fill on the property created while cutting a new channel for Keawanui Stream. The Coluccio Construction Co. and Kaneohe Ranch Co. were also ordered to remove illegal fill and restore sensitive wetlands adjacent to Hamakua Stream in Kailua, Oahu. The companies filled a wetland area without the proper permits.
The EPA partnered with the Hawai’i Department of Health and the State Attorney General’s Office to bring successful conclusion to the Pflueger and HDOT cases. The Department of Health’s Environmental Management Division has been an active partner in the EPA’s successful compliance and enforcement effort in Hawai’i. This includes assisting the EPA in working with residents and businesses to comply with the large capacity cesspool ban.
Other Hawai’i enforcement highlights for 2006 include:
* Clean Air Act violations against Waste Management of Hawai’i, Inc., and county governments on Oahu and Hawai’i at the Waimanalo Gulch landfill at Kapolei and West Hawai’i landfill at Waikaloa. At the Waimanalo Gulch landfill, EPA inspectors found that the gas collection and control system was installed seven years late in August 2005, and does not meet requirements. At the West Hawai’i landfill, Waste Management and the County of Hawai’i violated several reporting requirements.
* An action with $1,375 in fines against Hawaiian Electric Co. for improperly disposing of 75 pounds of absorbent material contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls, a violation of the federal Toxic Substances Control Act.
* A settlement with three facilities in Maui County that requires them to pay a collective $5,700 for failing to review and update risk management plans for hazardous chemicals by June 2004. The Wailuku/Kahului, Lahaina and Kihei Wastewater Reclamation Facilities settled under the agency’s expedited settlement agreement policy with reduced penalties. One-ton cylinders of chlorine are used in quantities reported at 16,000 pounds or more at each site.
* Hoku Scientific paying a fine of $14,200 as a result of hazardous waste violations at its former facility on Oahu. In November 2004, EPA inspectors found the facility did not have a hazardous waste identification number and also had two 55-gallon drums in a waste storage area that were not properly labeled and emergency contact information not posted in the area where the waste was stored.
* A settlement for $3,300 with Kamehameha Schools for the improper use of a rodenticide within the Keauhou forest region on the Big Island. Kamehameha Schools failed to comply with the conditions set forth in an EPA experimental use permit authorizing the limited aerial application of a pesticide to control mongoose and rats for wildlife conservation purposes. As a result of the pesticide’s non-permitted use inside bait traps, at least 12 non-targeted wild pigs were killed in addition to the targeted rat and mongoose populations.
Please go to http://www.epa.gov/region09/enforcement/results/ for a full description of the EPA’s enforcement cases throughout California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands in 2006. For information on the EPA’s national enforcement summary for 2006, go to: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/data/results/annual/fy2006.html