Com­mis­sion fines wa­ter com­pany for un­per­mit­ted struc­ture

The Maui News - - NEWS -

Haiku landowner found in vi­o­la­tion of wa­ter code

Olowalu Wa­ter Co. Inc. was fined $1,500 by the state Com­mis­sion on Wa­ter Re­source Man­age­ment this week for erect­ing a con­crete stream struc­ture on Olowalu Stream with­out a per­mit.

At its Tues­day meet­ing on Oahu, the com­mis­sion also re­quired the com­pany man­aged by West Maui Land Co. Inc. to pre­pare a re­me­di­a­tion plan within six months to en­able fish pas­sage and clean up bro­ken con­crete and re­bar in the stream, ac­cord­ing to an an­nounce­ment from the state Depart­ment of Land and Nat­u­ral Re­sources.

There was no im­me­di­ate com­ment Thurs­day from West Maui Land of­fi­cials.

The com­mis­sion re­viewed the Olowalu Wa­ter case in March, but it was de­ferred for fur­ther re­view of the ap­pli­ca­bil­ity of pend­ing rule changes. The state Depart­ment of the At­tor­ney Gen­eral con­firmed that only rules that were in place at the time of the vi­o­la­tion could be ap­plied.

Olowalu Wa­ter Co.’s fine is the max­i­mum al­low­able. It in­cludes a $500 ad­min­is­tra­tive fine, state of­fi­cials said.

The com­mis­sion had re­ceived mul­ti­ple com­plaints from the Maui County Of­fice of Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment and com­mu­nity mem­bers in early 2017, fol­low­ing tor­ren­tial flood­ing on Maui in Novem­ber 2016.

A reg­is­tered di­ver­sion for­merly used by Olowalu Wa­ter Co. had been de­stroyed in the flood, re­sult­ing in the un­per­mit­ted re­con­struc­tion of an old di­ver­sion on Olowalu Stream by the wa­ter com­pany.

In an­other Maui mat­ter, the com­mis­sion found that landowner Bock Fam­ily Trust in Haiku vi­o­lated the state Wa­ter Code by chan­nel­iz­ing the East Kuiaha Stream with rocks and soil and con­struct­ing cul­verts with­out a per­mit. A $1,500 fine was de­ferred by the com­mis­sion, and staff mem­bers were di­rected to ex­am­ine the length of time that the vi­o­la­tion had been oc­cur­ring.

Com­mis­sion staff also will work with the trust to de­velop a re­me­di­a­tion plan, which is due within six months. That will go be­fore the com­mis­sion for ap­proval.

The com­mis­sion re­ceived sev­eral com­plaints from nearby Haiku landown­ers in early 2017, in­clud­ing one who al­leged that mud and de­bris flows from the al­tered East Kuiaha Stream dam­aged her prop­erty dur­ing storms.

On Tues­day, the com­mis­sion de­nied the ap­pli­cant’s re­quest for an af­ter-the-fact per­mit for the work. The com­mis­sion warned the trust that any fu­ture vi­o­la­tions would re­sult in higher penal­ties.

Trust rep­re­sen­ta­tives could not be reach for com­ment on Thurs­day.

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