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Commission fines water company for unpermitted structure

Haiku landowner found in violation of water code

The Maui News

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.