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EPA, DOJ, State of Hawaii, Environmental Groups, Reach Agreement with the City and County of Honolulu to Address Wastewater Collection and Treatment Systems

Media Release:

A comprehensive settlement has been reached with the City and County of Honolulu that will address Clean Water Act compliance at Honolulu’s wastewater collection and treatment systems, the Justice Department, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Hawaii Attorney General’s Office, Hawaii Department of Health, and three environmental groups announced today.

The settlement which also resolves lawsuits brought by the Sierra Club, Hawaii’s Thousand Friends and Our Children’s Earth Foundation, includes a comprehensive compliance schedule for the city to upgrade its wastewater collection system by June 2020.

Under the settlement, the Honouliuli wastewater treatment plant will need to be upgraded to secondary treatment by 2024. The Sand Island plant will need to be upgraded by 2035, but could be extended to 2038 based on a showing of economic hardship.

Work on the wastewater collection system will include rehabilitation and replacement of both gravity and force main sewer pipes, backup strategies to minimize the risks of force main spills, a cleaning and maintenance program, improvements to Honolulu’s program to control fats, oils and grease from entering into the wastewater system from food establishments, and repair to pump stations.

“Today’s settlement represents a significant commitment that will address the City and County of Honolulu’s aging wastewater collection and treatment systems,” said Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “The end result will not just be an improvement to the system’s infrastructure. It will also significantly reduce both the public health risk caused by exposure to pathogens in raw sewage and the amount of harmful pollutants entering Honolulu’s vibrant marine environment.”

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