EPA requires closure of 5 illegal cesspools in Hawaii in 2019

Enforcement actions over the past year in Hawaii led to closures of five large-capacity cesspools (LCC) and over $104,143 in fines.

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HONOLULU, HAWAII OCT 10, 2019 -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) enforcement actions over the past year in Hawaii led to closures of five large-capacity cesspools (LCC) and over $104,143 in fines.

“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 Hawaii’s drinking water and coastal water resources.”

EPA actions to close banned LCCs this past year include:

LuckyU Enterprises Inc.: The company failed to close three LCCs associated with the restaurant known as Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck, Oahu. 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.

Kailua View Estates Association Inc. (KVEA): EPA inspectors found an LCC associated with the recreation center at the Kailua View Estates, Hawaii. The center hosts events with up to 100 guests supporting the Kailua View Estates subdivision. Under the settlement, KVEA will pay $12,000, close the LCC, and replace it with a state approved septic system.

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

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. 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 Hawaii, where cesspools are used more widely than in any other state.

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

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