Hawaii News

State boating division ‘sort of’ fined $600K for wastewater violations

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Hawai‘i Board of Land and Natural Resources Chairperson Dawn Chang will sign a settlement agreement between the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation, and the Wastewater Branch of the Hawai‘i Department of Health.

In June 2021, the Department of Health issued the boating division a Notice of Violation and Order for failure to produce effluent within state limits, from its wastewater treatment system at He‘eia Kea Small Boat Harbor, on O‘ahu.

Before the violation notice, the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation worked closely with the Department of Health and had completed design and permitting for construction of a wastewater treatment plant to replace an original one built in 1991.

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The boating division received $1,000,000 in capital improvement funds to build a new plant and began construction of an absorption bed disposal system. It then submitted multiple requests to the legislature for capital improvement project funding to complete construction of the plant, and in November 2022 received $3,000,000. Construction of a new plant is anticipated to begin in August, with completion by next February.

Under the Draft Settlement Agreement, approved by the Board of Land and Natural Resources last Friday, the Department of Health agreed to permit the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation to propose one or more environmentally beneficial projects to undertake, in lieu of paying a monetary penalty of $600,000.

That project, already proposed, and tentatively accepted by the Department of Health, is the replacement of the existing wastewater treatment system, next to and serving the makai comfort station and harbor office at Hale‘iwa Small Boat Harbor, on O‘ahu’s north shore.

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Once approved and permitted that project is expected to begin in August 2024, with completion in December 2024. That project is expected to cost $800,000, meaning the Department of Land and Natural Resources will not have to pay the $600,000 penalty.

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