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EPA Enforces Ban on Cesspools on Big Island and Maui – Fines Levied

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced separate agreements with the County of Hawaii, the County of Maui, and the State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), to close illegal large capacity cesspools on Maui and the Big Island.

The County of Hawaii will pay a $105,000 fine for its two cesspools at the Hilo Drag Strip and one at the Hilo Trap & Skeet Range.

Hilo Trap and Skeet RangeThe County of Maui will pay a $33,000 fine for one cesspool at the Maui Raceway Track. The DLNR will pay a $50,000 fine for its cesspools at Wainapanapa State Park on Maui and will close or convert smaller cesspools at seven state park and recreational areas on Maui, Oahu, and the Big Island.

Wainapanapa State Park

Wainapanapa State Park

“To make Hawaii’s coastal waters safe for both residents and visitors, we must stop the flow of pollutants and pathogens from large capacity cesspools,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Public facilities have the same obligations as private ones to close them.”

EPA found continued use of the illegal cesspools despite a 2005 ban under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act’s Underground Injection Control program. Subsequent to the Agency’s investigations, the Hawaii County has closed the three illegal cesspools at the drag strip and skeet range, with plans to replace them with approved individual wastewater systems at each location. Maui County has closed the illegal cesspool at the raceway. DLNR closed the six illegal cesspools that served the park’s 12 rental cabins at the Waianapanapa State Park near Hana and converted them to approved septic systems.

Cesspools collect and discharge untreated raw sewage into the ground, where disease-causing pathogens and harmful chemicals can contaminate groundwater, streams and the ocean. They are used more widely in Hawaii than any other state. Throughout Hawaii, over 3,000 large capacity cesspools have been closed since the 2005 ban, many through voluntary compliance. The EPA regulations do not apply to single-family homes connected to their own individual cesspools.

All three cases are each subject to a 30-day public comment period. For more information on the cases please visit:


https://www.epa.gov/uic/hawaii-cesspools-administrative-orders For more information on the large capacity cesspool ban and definition of a large capacity cesspool, please visit: http://www2.epa.gov/uic/cesspools-hawaii

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