Friday, June 28, 2002

Pflueger ordered to stop
construction and runoff

By Helen Altonn

The state Department of Health and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have ordered retired Oahu auto dealer Jimmy Pflueger to stop construction and ocean discharges at his Kauai property above Pila'a Beach near Kilauea.

The government agencies, in the order issued yesterday, required Pflueger to submit a site stabilization plan within 30 days with proper pollution management practices. It must be implemented by Dec. 31.

The agencies said Pflueger had conducted illegal construction for at least 189 days and had discharged storm water with sediments into the Pacific Ocean at least 109 days without authorization.

Wayne Nastri, EPA regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest, said the ocean waters and coral reefs at Pila'a Beach "have been significantly degraded by sediment discharges from these unpermitted construction activities.

"Due to the seriousness of the violations and threat to the environment, the EPA and Hawaii Department of Health are taking this coordinated action to compel Mr. Pflueger to comply with the federal and state clean water requirements."

Pflueger could not be reached for comment.

The health department had issued a "notice of apparent violation" to Pflueger May 10 for clearing and grading large parcels of land since June last year without a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit under the federal Clean Water Act.

"Any significant runoff from the Pflueger property into waterways of the state must have a permit and meet water quality standards," said state Health Director Bruce Anderson.

"We are concerned about any damage to natural resources that may have resulted from this construction activity," he said.

The agencies said they may jointly seek penalties against Pflueger. For each day of violations, the assessments could amount to $25,000 by the DOH and $27,500 by the EPA.

Earthjustice, a national nonprofit environment advocate, has said it intends to sue Pflueger under federal Clean Water Act provisions.

The Kauai County Council's Planning Committee recently voted to ask the county prosecutor's office to initiate criminal charges against Pflueger.

Last November, a major landslide occurred after heavy rain flooded a road being built by Pflueger to connect a subdivision he is developing and nearby Pila'a Beach.

Mud poured down on the properties of three families, leading one property owner to file a $1.3 million lawsuit against Pflueger.

E-mail to City Desk


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