Engineering firm faces a hefty fine for allegedly altering part of Manoa stream

Updated: Nov. 8, 2020 at 5:20 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A controversial construction repair project could bring on another large fine after allegedly altering a portion of the Manoa Stream.

Last year, the state Health Department fined the owners the home at 3148 East Manoa Rd. $40,000 for allegedly dumping nearly ten dump trucks full of construction material into the Manoa Stream to repair a retaining wall.

Hawaii News Now has learned that the state Department of Land and Natural Resources is also fining the couple’s engineering firm, Structural Hawaii Inc., $39,500, claiming they altered the stream without a permit.

“If we start blocking the stream up with man-made structures in particular, it’s going to create a squeeze in certain parts of the stream and we’re going to have risk of more flooding," said state Rep. Dale Kobayashi, (D) Manoa.

Kobayashi says Manoa residents raised safety concerns about the project to state regulators about a year ago.

He said that while the homeowner and their contractors plan to fight the fines, they have agreed to remove the building material from the stream once they complete the repairs on the retaining wall in March.

Kobayashi said that’s too long a wait.

“It’s not like we’re building the Great Wall of China here. This is just a retaining wall and to take six or seven months to do it seems ridiculous," he said.

Structural Hawaii’s CEO said the firm merely provided the designs for the project and that the contractor, HH Constructions, is responsible for the stream alteration. He declined further comment.

Environmental activist Carroll Cox said both the contractor and engineer should be responsible.

“They not only dropped the ball, there was major neglect,” Cox said. “If we have heavy rains, it’s going to create blockages ... Right now, there’s a tragedy waiting to take place here.”

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