• what-to-do-media
  • puako-general-store
  • Cheneviere Couture
  • Arnotts Mauna Kea Tours
  • World Botanical Garden
  • Hilton Waikoloa Village
  • Hilton Luau
  • Dolphin Quest Waikoloa
  • Discount Hawaii Car Rental
  • 10% Off WikiFresh

  • Say When

    June 2018
    S M T W T F S
    « May    
     12
    3456789
    10111213141516
    17181920212223
    24252627282930

Hawaii Department of Health Exceeds Federal Targets for Drinking Water State Revolving Funds

The Hawaii State Department of Health Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Program has exceeded funding requirements by disbursing more than $30,180,000 of loan funds in state fiscal year 2016 to support infrastructure improvements in public water systems for all four counties. This successfully meets and exceeds the target of $30 million in total disbursements approved last year by federal officials.

Clean Water Act Logo

In addition, the Department of Health executed loan agreements to provide funding totaling more than $55.5 million, exceeding the $51.8 million target.

“The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund is an important resource for Hawaii where infrastructure improvements are routinely required to support our communities,” said Keith Kawaoka, deputy director of Environmental Health. “I commend our staff and the counties for making the best possible use of this federally funded source and for strengthening confidence overall in sustaining the program.”

Joanna Seto, Safe Drinking Water Branch chief said, “Mahalo to our State Revolving Fund team and County partners who stepped up to the plate and hit a grand slam home run by initiating major improvements to water systems in every county. Everyone at the Department of Health and the County water departments pulled together to effectively use these funds to improve every county’s infrastructure and meet the 2016 targets for our state.”

Each year, Congress appropriates funds that are administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide grants to states to capitalize low-interest loan programs for public water system infrastructure improvements. By meeting these targets, the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund is positioned to receive the entire EPA capitalization grant award of $8,312,000 for state fiscal year 2017.

“The Hawaii Department of Health has made significant progress in funding needed drinking water infrastructure, in response to our 2015 corrective action plan,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “We will continue to ensure that critical drinking water projects are funded promptly to support safe drinking water for all in Hawaii.”

The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund supported the following projects in FY 2016:

  • The Hawaii Department of Water Supply received $32.29 million in commitments and disbursed more than $14.21 million. The commitments will support the following six projects: Laupahoehoe 0.5 MG Reservoir, Olaa #6 Production Well and 1.0 MG Reservoir, Halaula Well Development Phase 1, Waimea Water Treatment Plant Microfiltration, Kapulena Well Development Phase 2, and the Ahualoa-Honokaa Transmission Waterline.
  • The Honolulu Board of Water Supply (HBWS) committed $11.65 million and disbursed $9.49 million. The commitment will support the HBWS Water System Improvements 2 loan which includes the Liliha Water System Improvements Phase V, Pensacola Street Water System Improvements, and Kapahulu Water System Improvements Phase I projects.
  • The Maui Department of Water Supply received $11.64 million in commitments and disbursed more than $4.29 million. The commitments will provide support for the following five projects: Wailuku Heights Tank 30 Booster Replacement, Phase 6 Booster Pump Upgrades, Kualapuu MCC Upgrades, Omapio 2.1 MG Tank Replacement, and Source Generator Installation at 4 Sites.
  • Kauai Department of Water disbursed $2.18 million.

Using the Financial Operations and Cash Flow Utilization in the State Revolving Fund (FOCUS) financial planning model, the state has set its fiscal year 2017 targets at $38.8 million for executed loans and $44.3 million for disbursements by June 2017.

Since it began in 1997, the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund has disbursed a total of more than $222.7 million in low interest loans for infrastructure improvements throughout the state.

Background

There are two funds for water system infrastructure improvement projects: the Clean Water State Revolving Fund infrastructure loan program, established by the Clean Water Act of 1987, and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund infrastructure loan program, established by the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1996.

The Clean Water State Revolving Fund, which is also referred to as Hawaii’s Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund, provides low-interest loans to Hawaii’s four counties to construct high-priority wastewater, storm water, and non-point source water pollution projects. Since it began in 1991, the Clean Water State Revolving Fund has disbursed more than $686.9 million in low-interest loans, providing significant savings in interest costs to the counties.

Hawaii Department of Health Meets EPA Interim Targets Ahead of Jan. 29 Deadline – More Funding for Water Quality Projects

The Hawaii State Department of Health Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Program disbursed more than $10.36 million in federal funds in the last half of 2015 to support infrastructure improvements in the public water systems for all four counties. This exceeded the interim target of $7.67 million in disbursements.

Clean Water Act

In addition, as of Jan. 4, the Department of Health made commitments to provide funding totaling over $32.7 million, exceeding the $28.28 million interim target. The commitments for the four Hawaii County Department of Water Supply water system improvement projects include:

  • Over $4.1 million for the Laupahoehoe Reservoir;
  • Almost $12.9 million for the Waimea Water Treatment Plant microfiltration project
  • $823,420 for phase one of the Halaula well development project;
  • $3.2 million for the Ahualoa-Honokaa transmission waterline.

The Honolulu Board of Water Supply commitment involves $11.65 million for multiple water system improvements.

Each year, Congress appropriates funds that are administered by the EPA to provide grants to states to capitalize low-interest loan programs for public water system infrastructure improvements. The funds come with stipulations.

This year, Hawaii had to meet two interim requirements by Jan.29, 2016, and these were met well ahead of schedule by Jan. 4, 2016.

“We must continually demonstrate our stewardship of the federal funds and account for how the funds are being used before we can receive additional funds,” said Joanna Seto, Safe Drinking Water Branch chief. “Our SRF team and County customers were all aware of the pending deadline and what was at stake. There was great teamwork and collaboration to meet the deadline.”

The EPA awarded the Hawaii Department of Health $688,000 on Sept. 28, 2015, and withheld a little over $8 million in federal funds, pending the Department of Health’s ability to meet specific targets by Jan. 29, 2016.

Since it began in 1997, the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund has disbursed more than $201.5 million in low interest loans.

Background

There are two funds for water system infrastructure improvement projects: the Clean Water State Revolving Fund infrastructure loan program, established by the Clean Water Act of 1987, and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund infrastructure loan program, established by the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1996.

The Clean Water State Revolving Fund, which is also referred to as Hawaii’s Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund, provides low-interest loans to Hawaii’s four counties to construct high-priority wastewater, storm water, and non-point source water pollution projects.

Since it began in 1991, the Clean Water State Revolving Fund has disbursed more than 705.8 million in low-interest loans, providing significant savings in interest costs to the counties.

Environmental Protection Agency Awards Hawaii $1.1 Million to Control Polluted Water Runoff

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently awarded the Hawaii Department of Health a $1.1 million grant to implement its Polluted Runoff Control (PRC) Program and to support water quality improvement projects.

“EPA’s grant helps Hawaii reduce harmful stormwater runoff,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Our goal, along with the Department of Health, is to protect coastal waters and coral reefs from the effects of polluted surface water.”

When it rains, water flows downhill from Hawai`i’s high island ridges to the ocean, washing pollutants into the streams and rivers. (Kaaawa Valley, Oahu)

When it rains, water flows downhill from Hawai`i’s high island ridges to the ocean, washing pollutants into the streams and rivers. (Kaaawa Valley, Oahu)

Hawaii DOH will contribute $746,000 in state funds to the EPA grant for a total budget of $1.91 million to implement its state program developed under the authority of Section 319 of the federal Clean Water Act. Grant funds support both state staff and local organizations to develop and implement watershed plans to achieve water quality improvement goals. The funding is specifically for such nonpoint source water pollution control projects and cannot be used for other water pollution discharges or spills like the recent molasses spill into Honolulu Harbor.

This year, the PRC Program will update Hawaii’s State Management Program Plan for addressing polluted runoff over the next five years. The plan will identify strategic priorities, establish both environmental and program goals and milestones, and discuss how partners will be engaged to most effectively to improve water quality.

Recently, Hawaii DOH used Clean Water Act Section 319 funds to address land-based pollution in the West Maui area to protect coral reefs. West Maui is a priority area for the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force and the State of Hawaii Coral Program.

On-the-ground projects are strategically focused in specific watersheds to increase the likelihood of achieving environmental results. Previous competitively selected projects include:

  • Heeia Stream Restoration Project to stabilize eroding stream banks and restore native vegetation along the Heeia stream to reduce nutrient and sediment loads on windward Oahu.
  • Implementation of large scale agricultural management practices to reduce sediment and nutrient runoff in the Honouliuli Stream watershed.
  • A rain garden ‘how-to’ manual and the installation of several rain gardens to demonstrate an effective way to reduce the volume of polluted stormwater runoff in developed areas
  • Installation of fencing in Maui mountain watersheds to reduce the impacts of feral ungulate populations in sensitive watershed areas.

The 1987 amendments to the Clean Water Act established the Section 319 Nonpoint Source Management Program. Section 319 addresses the need for greater federal leadership to help focus state and local nonpoint source efforts. Under Section 319, states, territories and tribes receive grant money to support a wide variety of activities including technical assistance, financial assistance, education, training, technology transfer, restoratioin projects and monitoring efforts to assess progress toward water quality goals. EPA awards annual continuing program grants, based on a national distribution formula, to implement approved state programs.

The EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region (Region 9) administers and enforces federal environmental laws in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands and 148 tribal nations — home to more than 48 million people. The EPA is also a significant source of funding. In 2013, more than 85 percent of the $631 million regional operating budget flowed to state and tribal agencies, local governments, non-profit organizations and private-sector companies in the form of grants and contracts. This funding pays for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, air pollution reduction programs, Superfund site cleanups and many other activities that protect human health and natural resources.

Syd Singer on the Continuation of the Mangrove Lawsuit

Commentary by Syd Singer:

A public meeting was scheduled by Mayor Kenoi to discuss the controversial mangrove eradication and poisoning project that has now left over 30 acres of mangroves dead and rotting along the Puna coastline. The meeting, scheduled for July 31 at the Pahoa Community Center, was the first chance given to the public to comment on and question the project.

But the meeting never happened. Malama o Puna, the organization spearheading the poisoning, backed out at the last minute, causing the County to cancel the meeting, according to Hunter Bishop, spokesperson for Mayor Kenoi.

The public is left with an ugly, poisoned shoreline and still without any voice on the issue.

The 30 acres of mangroves now stand dead and defoliated along the sensitive Big Island coastline, left to rot over the years and blighting what had been beautiful, treasured areas. Wai Opae (which is the popular snorkeling area in Kapoho), Pohoiki (also called Isaac Hale Beach Park), Paki Bay, and Onekahakaha Beach Park in Hilo have all been poisoned.

There was no public hearing or public comment period allowed for this mangrove eradication project, which was done with the cooperation of the DLNR, County of Hawaii, and Big Island Invasive Species Committee. There was no environmental assessment or environmental impact statement prepared. For most residents who frequent these areas, awareness of the project began when they noticed the mangroves were dying and brown scum was floating on the water. Heaps of dead leaves from the defoliated trees still line the high tide mark.

A public protest against the mangrove poisoning was held in January, 2010, and the controversy was reported in the media. But Malama o Puna refused to stop the poisoning.

A citizen lawsuit was filed in February to get an injunction to stop the poisoning until an environmental assessment was done. Despite requests that they stop their work, Malama o Puna continued with their poisoning, killing 7 acres of mangroves at Pohoiki and 3-4 acres of mangroves at Onekahakaha Beach Park in Hilo while the lawsuit proceeded.

A ruling has just been made on the lawsuit, which continues in Third Circuit Court in Hilo. The Court has ruled that it is too late to sue Malama o Puna for not doing an environmental assessment. This does not mean Malama o Puna did not have to do an environmental assessment. It just means that it was too late to have the issue considered by the Court.

Attorneys for defendants Malama o Puna, DLNR, and County of Hawaii tried to get the case dismissed, claiming that private citizens cannot sue for violations of the Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, or Hawaii Pesticide law. But the Court reaffirmed that the public has a right to a clean and healthy environment, as provided in the Hawaii Constitution Article Xl, Section 9, and that all citizens have a right to sue to protect those environmental rights.

The lawsuit now will focus on whether Malama o Puna violated clean water regulations and threatened endangered species that are known to use the poisoned areas. No further hearings are scheduled at this time.

Ironically, mangroves may be the best species for Hawaii’s subsiding coastline, especially given the climate change predictions coming from the Hawaii government and environmental groups that the oceans are rising. Mangroves protect the shoreline from erosion, storm surge, and tsunamis. In fact, mangroves have been shown to save lives.

Unfortunately, while recognizing climate change is the environmental issue of our time, some environmental groups and government agencies have not yet realized the implications climate change has for “invasive” species control. Climate change is an inconvenient truth for those who want to save native species that thrived in the past but which may not survive in today’s and tomorrow’s altered environment. Introduced species which grow well here may belong to the Hawaii of the future. Today’s “invasive” species may become tomorrow’s “invaluable” species.

This especially applies to mangroves, considered by the Nature Conservancy in its Summer, 2010 magazine as one of the most valuable and beneficial species in the world. Mangroves may prove critical to shoreline protection in Hawaii as the oceans rise and the land sinks.

While their presence in Hawaii is controversial, as is the use of powerful poisons to kill the mangroves and leave them rotting along the shoreline, the public will not have an opportunity to comment on this eradication. And while the County meeting was too little, too late, it was at least an attempt to include the public. But now, even that attempt has been poisoned.

For more information, see www.mangrovelawsuit.com.

Sydney Ross Singer

P.O. Box 1880, Pahoa, Hawai 96778

EPA Orders Two Honolulu Companies To Correct Stormwater Violations To Protect Coastal Waters

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered Honolulu Marine LLC and Hawaii Stevedores, Inc. to comply with Clean Water Act requirements for stormwater runoff at their facilities.

Hawaii Stevedores, Inc. operates marine cargo handling facilities at Pier 1 and Pier 35 at Honolulu Harbor. EPA inspections found that the Pier 1 facility did not have a permit or a stormwater pollution control plan, and that it lacked controls to prevent pollutants from vehicle repair and maintenance areas from being discharged in the stormwater runoff.

kewalo basin aerial

Honolulu Marine LLC operates a boat building and repair facility on Ahui Street that discharges stormwater into Kewalo Basin. EPA inspectors found the company failed to have required stormwater pollution control measures to prevent discharge of pollutants, failed to cover and contain stored materials and barrels, and did not meet stormwater control monitoring and reporting requirements as required by its stormwater permit.

“Both companies must promptly correct the violations and improve pollution controls at their facilities to protect our harbors and coastal waters,” said Alexis Strauss, Water Division director for the EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “If not managed and controlled, pollutants can contaminate our coastal waters through stormwater runoff.”

The EPA’s order requires Hawaii Stevedores to obtain a stormwater permit and comply with all conditions of the permit. The company also has 30 days to contain all pollutants stored or used at its location from being discharged in stormwater runoff. Once these are complete, a report detailing the work must be submitted to the EPA.

Honolulu Marine needs to inspect its facility to ensure no pollutant sources enter into stormwater discharges. The company has 30 days to correct all stormwater control issues, address discharges at its catch basin and outfall, clean oily stains at the facility, and prevent runoff from the boat repair area. The company must submit to the EPA its stormwater best management plan, all required records and reports required by the discharge permit, and a report of the completed work.

Both companies were inspected in December 2008 as part of an EPA regionwide effort to improve compliance with the Clean Water Act’s stormwater regulations at ports in California and Hawaii.

Hawaii Stevedores, Inc. (PDF)
Honolulu Marine, LLC (PDF)

SOURCE: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency