Oahu. Hawaii

Dole fined $20,000 for safety risks posed by Wahiawa Dam

On Friday, Hawaii’s land board has fined the Dole Food Company Hawaii $20,000 for failing to safely maintain the Wahiawa dam. The more than a century-old dam – that protects Oahu’s North Shore from flooding by Lake Wilson - presents a “significant risk to the public today” and Dole has known of that risk for at least twelve years, said Carty Chang, the state land agency’s chief engineer.

Lake Wilson, which holds up to 3 billion gallons, can fill up during a major storm in a matter of hours, yet the concrete spillway used to control those flows is “still undersized and still insufficient,” Chang said.

Civilbeat.org reports that hydrologists with the private company Gannett Fleming further told the board that a study commissioned by Dole in 2017 had “significant errors” and significantly underestimated the maximum probable flood that could hit the lake. The state hired Gannett Fleming to consult on the matter.

State officials, worried about flooding and failures of Hawaii’s earthen dams, fined Dole $20,000 Friday for deficiencies at the Wahiawa dam next to Lake Wilson. Dole General Manager Dan Nellis challenged DLNR engineers’ assertions that the Wahiawa dam was not safe.

Photo source: Dreamstime.com

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