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Fines Issued After a Dozen Cesspools Found in North, South Kona

March 10, 2020, 7:46 AM HST
* Updated March 10, 7:52 AM
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The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued fines against two property owners for the operation of 12 large-capacity cesspools (LCCs) found in North and South Kona.

EPA inspectors identified multi-unit residential buildings in Kealakekua, owned by K. Oue, Limited, discharging wastewater into 11 cesspools. The other was found in Kailua-Kona. The Group Investments LLC failed to close a cesspool at a building the company owns and leases to Sherwin Williams and B. Hayman Co. Services.

Both parties have agreed to pay fines and close the LCCs. K. Oue, Limited, will pay a penalty of $88,545. The Kailua-Kona property owner will pay $56,151.

“Large-capacity cesspools can contaminate groundwater, streams and the ocean,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator John Busterud. “EPA will continue our efforts to identify and take enforcement actions to close the remaining large capacity cesspools in Hawai‘i.”

Since 2005’s LCC ban, more than 3,400 of the cesspools have been closed statewide; however, many hundreds remain in operation. 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.

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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 Hawai‘i.

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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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