Settlement in the Works for Clean Water Act Violation in Lahaina

August 12, 2015, 1:08 PM HST · Updated August 12, 2:13 PM
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Lower Honoapiilani Highway near the Honua Kai Resort and Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility. File photo by Wendy Osher.

Lower Honoapiilani Highway near the Honua Kai Resort and Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility. File photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

Parties in a federal suit against Maui County over injection wells at the Lahaina wastewater facility have reached an agreement in principle on a settlement in the case.

A trial that was scheduled to get underway this week has been moved to Nov. 17, 2015 to allow parties time to finalize and approve the settlement, said David Henkin, Staff Attorney Earthjustice.

In January, a federal court ruled that illegal discharge of wastewater had occurred in violation of the federal Clean Water Act, affecting offshore waters at the popular Kahekili Beach Park in West Maui.

Kahekili "Airport" Beach. File photo by Wendy Osher.

Kahekili “Airport” Beach. File photo by Wendy Osher.

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The ruling was the second in less than a year.  In May of 2014, Judge Susan Oki Mollway ruled that Maui County’s discharges at two of four wells at the Lāhainā facility were in violation of the federal law. Her decision found that the wastewater “significantly affects the physical, chemical and biological integrity of the receiving waters.”

The January ruling determined that discharges in two wells are illegally violating the Clean Water Act.

The lawsuit, filed by Earthjustice in April of 2012 on behalf of the Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund, Surfrider Foundation, West Maui Preservation Association, and Sierra Club-Maui Group, claimed that “wastewater-laden groundwater” from the injection wells, “substantially affects the physical, chemical, and biological integrity of the ocean water.”

County Communications Director Rod Antone said the county did not have a comment at this time, but would have a statement prepared when all is said and done.

 

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