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Hawaii Harbors Ordered to Obey Federal Stormwater Regulations
HONOLULU, Hawaii, July 12, 2009 (ENS) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered the Hawaii Department of Transportation's Harbors Division to comply with federal Clean Water Act stormwater regulations at the Honolulu and Kalaeloa Barbers Point Harbors on the island of Oahu.

Fuel, oil and debris carried by stormwater from the Harbor Division and tenant facilities, discharge directly into harbor waters and through municipal storm drains running to harbor waters.

"We've identified many stormwater permit violations and compliance issues to be resolved to protect Oahu's coastal waters, said Alexis Strauss, Water Division director in the EPA's Pacific Southwest region."

"We'll oversee HDOT as they take these actions under this order and ensure we have stronger public health and environmental protections in place," she said.

Honolulu Harbor, located on Mamala Bay, is Hawaii's major port facility, handling over 11 million tons of cargo annually. The harbor serves as Hawaii's primary distribution center to Oahu and the rest of the state.

Kalaeloa Barbers Point Harbor, located on the southwest corner of Oahu, is a commercial harbor providing port facilities for deep-draft vessels.

The violations carry a maximum $37,500 a day fine but the state is moving to comply with the order and officials say they should be able to meet deadlines set by the EPA and avoid fines.

The EPA stormwater compliance initiative program for ports began in 2003 and this is the first time Hawaii ports have been inspected, Michael Formby, deputy director of the DOT Harbors Division, told the "Honolulu Advertiser" newspaper.

In December, the U.S. EPA and state Department of Health inspectors conducted audits at Honolulu and Kalaeloa-Barbers Point harbors.

Inspectors determined that the state Harbors Division has failed to develop, implement and enforce an effective program to detect and eliminate illicit discharges and illegal connections, including failure to compile a list of non-stormwater discharges, failure to detect and identify dry weather flows, and failure to ensure tenants implement controls.

An adequate program to reduce pollutants from construction sites was not in place, inspectors found. They documented failure to implement appropriate erosion and sediment control best management practices, failure to establish rules, ordinances and other regulatory mechanisms that require erosion and sediment controls at construction sites, failure to ensure that construction site operators control waste; and failure to implement an inspection and enforcement program for control measures at construction sites.

There was no adequate program for post-construction runoff from new development and redevelopment projects, the inspectors discovered.

They found that the harbors failed to implement structural and non-structural controls to minimize water quality impacts and maintain pre-development runoff conditions, and failure to create enforcement procedures for the long-term operation and maintenance of measures to reduce pollutants.

The order requires the HDOT Harbors Division to revise its stormwater management plans for both harbors by December 31, 2009 and submit the revised plans by the end of January 2010.

The order also requires HDOT Harbors Division to:

  • develop and implement a tenant inspection and enforcement program, and conduct inspections annually at all commercial/industrial tenant facilities beginning January 2010
  • use the tenant inspection and enforcement program to detect and eliminate illicit discharges into the harbor stormwater systems
  • develop and implement a program to control construction site runoff, including inspections of third-party constructions projects at the harbors
  • develop and implement a Post-Construction Storm Water Management Program for areas of new development and significant redevelopment
  • revise the pollution prevention/good housekeeping program to include a program of scheduled inspections and preventive debris removal from its stormwater system
  • develop and implement an erosion and sediment control plan to manage the existing dredged materials at Kalaeloa Barbers Point Harbor, as well as for future dredge spoil stockpiles, if any, to prevent both wind-and water-caused erosion of the stockpiled materials

Copyright Environment News Service, ENS, 2009. All rights reserved.

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