EPA orders Pflueger to halt rain runoff from Kaloko Reservoir area

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency yesterday ordered James Pflueger and Pflueger Properties to halt the discharge of stormwater into streams and ocean that resulted from unpermitted grading at a construction site by the Kaloko Reservoir in north Kaua’i.

The EPA and the state Department of Health issued similar orders to Pflueger in June for stormwater violations in Pila’a Bay.

During heavy rains last November, runoff flowed down a hillside from a Pflueger construction site and around a home in Pila’a Bay and into the ocean, partially damaging the structure and degrading the coral reef and shoreline water.

In the latest violation, the EPA said Pflueger failed to apply for a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit, under the federal Clean Water Act, for the Kaloko site, which is located mauka of Kuhio Highway and Pila’a Bay.

“The EPA’s continuing investigation into Mr. Pflueger’s activities on Kaua’i has revealed that in addition to his activities at Pila’a, he also graded and disturbed this large swath of land at Kaloko Reservoir without having received the necessary permits” said Catherine Kuhlman, the EPA’s acting director for water programs in the Pacific Southwest region.

Kuhlman said the stormwater runoff from this construction site must have a permit and meet water quality standards.

“Once again, Mr. Pflueger may be subject to civil penalties for failure to comply with environmental laws,” Kuhlman said.

Water discharged from the site for allegedly 250 or more days between January 1998 and July 2002, based on data from a rain gauge in Kilauea, the EPA said.

Inspectors with the EPA and Department of Health on Sept. 18 discovered more than five acres had been disturbed due to construction activities at the site.

Clearing and grading of the area above Kaloko Reservoir occurred on the north, east and southeast sides. Construction of a road approaching the east side reservoir embankment also involved cut slopes and grading work, the EP said.

Storm-related runoff from construction activities at Kaloko Reservoir flow into the reservoir, a tributary of Waiakalua Reservoir, Waiakalua Stream and the Pacific Ocean, EPA said.

Runoff from the reservoir’s plateau may also have flowed into the Kalua’a, Moloa’a and Waipake streams and then into the ocean, EPA said.

The warning requires Pfleuger to stop all work, and with 60 days, he is required to complete a survey identifying erosion on the property and to submit a stabilization plan.

EPA has required that Pflueger implement measures to stabilize the site by March 31.

In November 1997, Kaua’i County issued two notice of grading violations to Pflueger for work at the Kaloko site. A second notice was sent out this past July.

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