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EPA Requires Hawai‘i Property Owner to Close Illegal Cesspool

April 4, 2019, 2:47 PM HST (Updated April 7, 2019, 9:59 AM)
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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a settlement with Detroit Diesel Corporation (DDC) on Thursday, April 4, 2019, for failing to close a large-capacity cesspool (LCC) in Campbell Industrial Park Kapolei, O‘ahu. Detroit Diesel will pay a $129,000 fine and the cesspool was replaced with an individual wastewater treatment system in January.

“Protecting Hawaii’s marine ecosystems, including coral reefs, means improved wastewater management,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker. “Working with the Hawai‘i Department of Health, EPA will continue to inspect and drive closure of illegal cesspools.”

Detroit Diesel owns the property where Freightliner of Hawai‘i operates a heavy-duty truck dealership and truck service center. EPA inspectors found a large-capacity cesspool serving the bathrooms on the property. DDC is the fifth facility in the Campbell Industrial Park area where EPA has identified illegal LCCs over the past two years. Large capacity cesspools were banned under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act in 2005.

Cesspools are used more widely in Hawai‘i than in any other state, even though 95% of all drinking water in Hawai‘i comes from groundwater sources. In the 13 years more than 3,400 large-capacity cesspools have been closed statewide, many through voluntary compliance. Cesspools collect and discharge untreated raw sewage into the ground, where disease-causing pathogens and harmful chemicals can contaminate groundwater, streams and the ocean.

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The settlement is subject to a 30-day comment period. For more information and to submit comments, go online.

For more information on large-capacity cesspools and the 2005 ban, go online.

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