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Final EA finds no impact for water line and road project

Updated: 
February 25, 2014 - 12:05am

Access to water in dry Kawaihae was one of the top concerns about the state’s proposal to add water lines to the small boat harbor under construction there.

A Department of Hawaiian Home Lands official noted the draft environmental assessment, issued in December, said the water line and road construction project will increase demand on the region’s water system. A Hawaiian Home Lands resident posed similar questions.

Senior Project Manager Diana Kodama, writing on behalf of AECOM, which completed the environmental assessment for the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation, said the state agency had an agreement to use up to 2,685 gallons of water daily.

“The anticipated water usage for the South Kawaihae Small Boat Harbor should have a minimal impact on the (county’s) Department of Water Supply system,” Kodama wrote in a January letter to DHHL officials.

DLNR issued a finding of no significant impact for the project this week. The work includes a new, 24-foot-wide access road, following the existing alignment of a coral access road leading to the Small Boat Harbor site. The department also will place two water lines, one 8 inches, the other 4 inches, to connect with an existing 12-inch water line along Akoni Pule Highway, running contiguous to the new road, from a water main connection near Akoni Pule Highway.

The work is expected to cost about $2.5 million and take 270 days to complete, depending on weather.

DLNR officials said they will build the road with a slope to direct runoff toward the edges, where 5-foot-wide earthen swales will convey the drainage to drywells.

The final environmental assessment noted that archaelogical work revealed no finds.

The project is the second phase of a project begun last summer. The first phase, a $4.7 million project, will add a floating dock, with a finger pier and gangway, to the south small boat harbor. DLNR and legislators broke ground for that project in June, with an anticipated completion date of April.

A message seeking an update on that project was not immediately returned Monday.

The long-awaited small boat harbor improvements were delayed primarily because of federal concerns about impacts to coral in the harbor, DLNR officials said last summer. Federal officials told DLNR it could not proceed with any dredging of the harbor until potential damage to coral was mitigated. Federal law doesn’t allow a public project to create a net loss of coral.