The State of Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation, Highways Maui District has received the 2023 MS4 Phase II Overall Award from the Water Environment Federation, a nonprofit organization of water quality professionals and affiliated associations from around the world.
Established in 2015 through a cooperative agreement with the US Environmental Protection Agency to recognize high-performing Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System programs, the federation’s National Municipal Stormwater and Green Infrastructure Awards is a competitive recognition program in which applications are scored by an expert panel of judges.
The MS4 Phase II Overall Award is bestowed upon an applicant that demonstrates excellence in both program management and innovation and is the highest honor Highways Maui District could have received in this awards program.
“By winning a WEF MS4 Award, this year’s honorees have proven that their commitment to creating healthier communities goes far beyond simply what their permits obligate them to do,” said Elizabeth Krousel, Water Environment Federation Stormwater Community chair and associate vice president for Michael Baker International (Virginia Beach, Virginia). “These high-performing organizations are an inspiration to the entire stormwater sector, demonstrating how outside-the-box thinking can stretch our activities, messages, and budgets further.”
An MS4 is a public network of structures that convey stormwater, usually to a stream or the ocean. Unlike a sanitary sewer system that treats wastewater generated in homes or businesses, an MS4 is designed to help prevent flooding by channeling rainwater from paved areas into nearby streams, lakes or the ocean.
Stormwater that enters the MS4 is not treated, which is why preventing pollutants from entering storm drains is an important focus of Highways Maui District’s work.
Highways Maui District oversees and manages the state highways network in Maui County, including an MS4 in Central Maui that spans approximately 20 miles of state highways, 322 inlets, 10 miles of storm drainage pipes and culverts, and 27 outfalls that collect and convey stormwater runoff from highway surfaces.
Maui’s MS4 program encompasses a range of initiatives that help to fulfill Highways Maui District’s commitment to protect Maui’s waters and reduce the discharge of stormwater pollutants into the ocean. Efforts include a comprehensive management system to inventory and monitor MS4 assets and activities; programs to control and prevent runoff, debris, pollution and illicit discharges; and initiatives to promote public education and involvement.
“We’re proud of each and every member of Highways Maui District’s team for attaining this prestigious honor, which will serve as a model for other MS4s across the country,” said Robin Shishido, deputy director of transportation for Highways. “The Maui MS4 serves tens of thousands of people on a daily basis, and this award is only made possible with the support and cooperation of community members who share our commitment to protecting Maui’s environment. We thank our many program partners including the County of Maui, public and private schools and teachers, the University of Hawaiʻi at Maui College, Maui Ocean Center, and our many Adopt-A-Highway volunteers, among others.”