News Releases from Region 09
U.S. EPA Terminates Order with City and County of Honolulu with successful implementation of Stream Maintenance Program
HONOLULU – Today, the United States Environmental Protection Agency has announced the termination of a 2017 administrative order concerning the City and County of Honolulu (CCH) Department of Facility Maintenance (DFM) Clean Water Act Section 404 violations. Violations stem from discharges of dredge and fill materials into waters of the island of Oahu from 2015.
“We are pleased that CCH has fully completed the requirements of the Administrative Order and are implementing a comprehensive plan to protect Oahu’s streams,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator John Busterud. “CCH’s Stream Maintenance Program ensures work is done with permits and best management practices to minimize pollution during stream maintenance activities.”
EPA issued an order in March 2017 requiring CCH to develop a Stream Maintenance Program and to not discharge any dredge or fill material into waters of the United States without a permit or authorization from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as required under the Clean Water Act.
The Stream Maintenance Program outlines:
- Stream maintenance activities (such as vegetation management, bank stabilization and sediment removal).
- Identification of stream segments and stream types.
- A stream maintenance database and maps to track all activities.
- A training program for staff, managers and contractors.
- Annual compliance reports.
"The CCH Department of Facility Maintenance appreciates the coordination, support, guidance, and oversight received from the State of Hawai‘i Department of Health, Clean Water Branch, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in addressing community concerns over maintenance activities that were reported to the EPA.” said Ross S. Sasamura, DFM Director and Chief Engineer. “The pristine natural environment in Hawai‘i is a source of nourishment, recreation, rejuvenation, and pride for residents and must be sustained for the benefit of generations that follow. DFM remains committed to upholding the standards and practices necessary to preserve and protect the environmental quality of this special place we call home."
CCH’s Stream Maintenance Program includes the issuance of the Stream Maintenance permit in September 2019 and collaborative work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Hawai‘i Department of Health. The permit allowed CCH to clear years of vegetation overgrowth, sediment build-up, trash and debris from the Manoa-Palolo Stream area that was completed on June 20, 2020.
“The Corps of Engineers Honolulu Regulatory Branch appreciates the collaborative approach between all parties associated with this action,” said Linda Speerstra, Honolulu District Regulatory Branch Chief. “These efforts have provided a path forward for future stream maintenance projects along with a shared understanding the resources.”
This stream that is a tributary to the Ala Wai Canal, an impaired waterway near Waikiki, has seen an increase in land that had the potential to cause serious flooding and enabled the development of homeless encampments along the stream banks. As part of the outreach for the project, community service providers visited the homeless encampments that existed within the stream area offering community shelter and other services. The results were a stream with improved flood capacity and reduced trash and debris that remains to this day clear of debris and homeless encampments.
EPA has completed its review of the 2020 compliance report and termination request and, based on this information and CCH’s certification, is terminating the administrative order.
For more information on streams under Clean Water Act Section 404, please visit: https://19january2021snapshot.epa.gov/cwa-404/streams-under-cwa-section-404.