EPA closes 2 illegal cesspools in West Hawaii

October 8, 2019, 5:00 PM HST (Updated October 8, 2019, 4:11 PM)
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Two West Hawai‘i entities were fined by the federal government after failing to to shut down illegal large-capacity cesspools.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found a cesspool in Kailua View Estates associated with the recreation center as well as cesspool operated by Kamuela Management LLC in Kealakekua, according to a press release from EPA Tuesday.

The Kailua View Estates rec center hosts events with up to 100 guests supporting the Kailua View Estates subdivision. Under the settlement, Kailua View Estates Association will pay $12,000, close the LCC and replace it with a state-approved septic system.

Kamuela Management LLC failed to close an LCC associated with a multi-business commercial property in Kealakekua. Kamuela Management has agreed to pay $30,000 under the settlement and has been working with the county to develop a replacement wastewater system.

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“We will continue to identify and close the remaining large capacity cesspools in Hawaii,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker. “This enforcement effort will help protect Hawai‘i’s drinking water and coastal water resources.”

In the past year, the EPA has shut down five large-capacity cesspools and fined those LLCs over $104,143 in fines. On Oahu, LuckyU Enterprises Inc. failed to close three LLCs associated with the restaurant known as Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck. LuckyU agreed to pay $62,143 under the settlement and is currently working towards connecting to the nearby county sewer line by the end of 2019.

In 2017, the State of Hawai‘i passed Act 125, which requires the replacement of all cesspools by 2050. It is estimated that there are approximately 90,000 cesspools in Hawaii.

Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, EPA banned large-capacity cesspools in 2005. Since then, more than 3,400 LCCs have been closed statewide; however, many hundreds remain in operation, the EPA states.

Cesspools collect and discharge untreated raw sewage into the ground, where disease-causing pathogens and harmful chemicals can contaminate groundwater, streams and the ocean. Groundwater provides 95% of all domestic water in Hawai‘i, where cesspools are used more widely than in any other state.

For more information on the large-capacity cesspool ban and definition of a large-capacity cesspool, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/uic/cesspools-hawaii. For more information on these agreements visit: https://www.epa.gov/uic/hawaii-cesspool-administrative-orders.

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