A federal judge ruled Tuesday that the Hawaii Agribusiness Development Corp. violated the federal Clean Water Act and beached public trust by discharging millions of gallons of polluted water containing pesticides, heavy metals and other toxins into the ocean off of Kauai’s west side.

Toxic runoff continues to be released into the ocean near Barking Sands and Kekaha Beach Park through a plantation-era drainage ditch system that has not been permitted since August 2015, according to court documents. The ocean in this area is heavily used for swimming, fishing, surfing and other recreational activities.

U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson

U.S. District Court

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson ruled in favor of environmental groups Na Kia’i Kai, Surfrider Foundation and Pesticide Action Network, which filed the complaint.

“There is no question that ADC discharges polluted water into the near-shore waters of the Pacific Ocean off Kauai’s western coast on a daily basis,” Watson wrote.

HADC is the state agency in charge of helping to diversify Hawaii agriculture.

Earthjustice responded to the ruling with this press release.

A critical time for local journalism . . .

Over 1,800 daily and weekly newspapers in the U.S. have ceased operations since 2004 — among them the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and the Honolulu Weekly. Studies have shown that when local journalism disappears, government financing costs go up, fewer people run for public office, elected officials become less responsive to their constituents, and voter turnout decreases.

 

Our small nonprofit newsroom works hard every day to present local news in a deep and transparent way, without fear or favor.

 

We also rely on donations from readers like you to keep us afloat. The more support we receive; the stronger, more sustainable our journalism becomes; the more accountable we are to you. Please consider supporting our small newsroom with a tax-deductible gift.

About the Author