Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Investigation of Big Island Department of Water Supply to Begin

Speaker Calvin Say has appointed members to serve on an investigative committee; the purpose of the committee will be to investigate the County of Hawaii's Department of Water Supply on their handling of the Ocean View-Kahuku water system project. They are:

Chair: Rep. Robert Herkes (District 5 - Puna, Kau, South Kona, North Kona)

Vice Chair: Rep. Faye Hanohano (District 4 - Puna, Pahoa, Hawaiian Acres, Kalapana)

Members from the Big Island: Rep. Mark Nakashima (District 1: North Kohala, South Kohala, Hamakua, North Hilo, South Hilo), Rep. Jerry Chang (District 2: South Hilo, Waiakea Kai, Kaumana, Keaukaha), Rep. Clift Tsuji (District 3: South Hilo, Panaewa, Puna, Keaau, Kurtistown), Rep. Denny Coffman (District 6 - North Kona, Keauhou, Kailua-Kona, Honokohau), and Rep. Cindy Evans (District 7 - North Kona, South Kohala).

Members from the House Committee on Water, Land, Ocean Resources: Chair Ken Ito (District 48 - Heeia, Haiku Valley, Kapunahala, Kaneohe) and Vice Chair Sharon Har (District 40 - Royal Kunia, Makakilo, Kapolei, Kalaeloa).

The committee was formed pursuant to the passage of House Resolution 136, introduced by Rep. Herkes.

At Issue:

Inordinate delays by the Department of Water Supply to move forward on the water system project for the people of Ocean View.


In 2005, the legislature appropriated $6 million to Hawaii County for the development of a water well and adjoining system with the storage capacity for a fill station that could accommodate four water hauler trucks and other amenities. The money was released on April 19, 2006 to then Mayor Harry Kim for the project.

Only Phase I, the exploratory phase for the well construction, was designed by SSFM International and completed in Feb. 2009.

Since then, a new contractor, Bolton Inc., was brought on board, and is reportedly close to completing Phase II, the design to develop the well, reservoir and fill station.

Apparently, Bolton's design for the project differs from the SSFM design, which is the design that was provided to and generally accepted by the community. The change has resulted in several problems. Members of the community are not happy with the new design; in particular, one couple protested that the change allows water uses with a direct view into their bedroom. In addition, bids on the changed design are much higher than what was expected when the $6 million was appropriated, leading to further delays.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald has been following the issue. Click here.

What's Next?

The first committee meeting is scheduled to be heard next week, date and time to be announced.

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