Hawaii water utility, contractors penalized for pollution

HONOLULU — A water utility company in Hawaii and a group of local contractors have received a notice of violation after polluting a stream in west Oahu last year and failing to report the action for more than two weeks.

The Hawaii Department of Health has issued a violation notice against the companies for releasing sediment into Nuuanu Stream and failing to report it for 15 days, The Star-Advertiser reports.

The Honolulu Board of Water Supply, R.M. Towill Corporation, SSFM International Inc. and Drayko Construction Inc. face a possible $420,000 fine, officials said.

“If an unlawful discharge occurs, the Board of Water Supply and its contractors are responsible for acting immediately to mitigate the impacts and report the incident to the Department of Health. In this case, neither the Board of Water Supply nor its contractors acted as required by law,” said Keith Kawaoka, deputy director of environmental health.

The sediment turned the stream dark brown and affected residents living downhill, including some property owners with koi ponds, health officials said.

The notice requires violators to take preventative action against additional discharges, officials said.

Board officials said in a statement that they are reviewing the notice and order and would have no further comment at this time.

The Board of Water Supply manages water resources and the distribution system and serves about 1 million customers on Oahu.

In an unrelated violation, a property owner and its contractors also face fines for dumping dirt, gravel and construction materials into Manoa Stream since May without state permits or authorization, health officials said Friday. The Hayama Trust, HH Constructions Inc. and Structural Hawaii Inc. face a $40,000 penalty, officials said.

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