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Friday, December 22, 2000

Court order bans
runoff from Kona

By Rod Thompson
Big Island correspondent

KEALAKEKUA, Hawaii -- Agreement on a coastal Kona residential project will allow construction workers to go back to work and assures clean waters for recreational ocean users and fishermen.

Oceanside 1250 Partners yesterday agreed to a court order that prohibits the company's 1,540-acre Hokuli'a development from polluting or generating runoff into the ocean at the project about 10 miles south of Kailua-Kona.

Four ocean users had sued Oceanside 1250 after two major runoffs from the company's site into the ocean took place during storms on Sept. 9 and Nov. 2.

The muddy runoff settled onto coastal reefs, raising concerns about damage to them.

The agreement yesterday, called a stipulated permanent injunction, prohibits future damage. To ensure that, a court appointed water monitor will provide periodic reports to Circuit Judge Ronald Ibarra on water quality in the area of the development.

The agreement allows Oceanside 1250 to resume work with the oversight of the state Department of Health.

Hokuli'a president and general manager Rick Humphreys credited the group who sued his company with a "spirit of cooperation," and stated that the entire experience was "a critical learning process for us."

"The runoffs of Sept. 9 and Nov. 2 occurred in spite of our efforts to manage the project site. However, the results speak for themselves; the ocean was impacted and we accept responsibility," Humphreys said.

The agreement allows 350 construction workers to restart the project.

Robert Kim, attorney for the plaintiffs, noted that Judge Ibarra was an active participant in reaching the agreement, which allows the judge to impose contempt sanctions if any further pollution takes place.

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