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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, June 20, 2001

Kapa'a Quarry runoff leads to $15,000 fine

By Eloise Aguiar
Advertiser Windward Bureau

KAILUA — The state Department of Health will fine Ameron International Corp. $15,000 for violating water pollution laws at its Kapa'a Quarry last year. The department said Ameron allowed unpermitted storm-water discharges into Kapa'a Stream on three occasions and failed to fully report the violations.

David Moore, operations superintendent for Ameron quarry products, checks the site of one of the Phase 2 retaining ponds. By collecting runoff, the pond helps keep water from seeping down the main road and into the Kawai Nui Marsh.

Jeff Widener • The Honolulu Advertiser

Under a proposal for a consent order, Ameron Hawai'i at Kapa'a Quarry agreed to comply with its permit and prevent the flow of water from its property into Kapa'a Stream, with the exception of runoff caused by any major rain, described as a downpour of a scale seen only once in 10 years.

The consent order will take effect after a public comment period and when the agreement is signed by all parties, including Ameron, the state's health director and the state's deputy director for environmental health.

"The consent agreement in writing looks good," said Kailua Neighborhood Board member Jim Corcoran, who has sought greater government oversight of the quarry operation.

"The question I have is whether or not all of those actions will be carried out over the next few years," Corcoran said, adding that he wonders whether the department's Clean Water Branch has the staff and resources to monitor Ameron's progress.

The consent order sets deadlines for projects, requires quarterly reporting and sets fines for unapproved delays.

Gary Gill, deputy director of the the department's Environmental Health Administration, said Ameron not only agreed to work to prevent additional illegal runoff but suggested ways to prevent pollution outside its responsibility.

The company volunteered to conduct a survey of Kapa'a Stream and route water from the access road outside Ameron property to an underground percolation field or an above-ground sedimentation basin, he said.

"They were proactive in thinking of ways to be good stewards and dealing with water pollution issues in a broader sense rather than just at their own facility," Gill said.

The public has until July 12 to comment on the proposed settlement with Ameron. Send comments to Denis Lau, Department of Health, Clean Water Branch, P.O. Box 3378, Honolulu, HI 96801.
 •  The notice of violation and the consent order may be reviewed, and copies made, at the Clean Water Branch, 919 Ala Moana, Room 301. For information, call Lau at 586-4309.
Linda Goldstein, Ameron's environmental, health and safety manager, said the agreement gives the company an opportunity to conduct projects that will benefit the environment.

The violations took place in August, October and December 2000 according to the Department of Health.

In November, Ameron said it was taking steps to prevent further problems, including digging ponds to catch rainwater, increasing its pumping capacity and developing a $130,000 well to store water for reuse.

"We've expanded the ponds ... and the (runoff water) routing is improved," Goldstein said. "We have bigger pumps in place and some automated systems. Now if we have a malfunction, the pump system telephones the superintendent."

The Kane'ohe and Kailua neighborhood boards called for action last year after heavy storms destroyed some of Ameron's dam system, dumping mud and debris into Kapa'a Stream. The quarry sits above Kawai Nui Marsh, and Kapa'a Stream runs through the 300-acre operation and passes other industrial businesses before emptying into the marsh.

The problem occurred in Phase 2 of Ameron's operation, which the company is preparing to open in three to five years.

In November the boards recommended against opening Phase 2 and called on the company to give details about how it would protect the environment. At the same time, the boards recommended that the Health Department conduct a Phase 2 discharge study.