Maui News

Cesspool Ban Enforced on Maui, Fines at Raceway and Waiʻānapanapa

August 8, 2016, 1:31 PM HST
* Updated August 8, 2:46 PM
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Waianapanapa Cabin. File image Courtesy DLNR.

Waianapanapa Cabin. File image Courtesy DLNR.

The US Environmental Protection Agency announced separate agreements with the County of Hawaiʻi, the County of Maui, and the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources, to close illegal large capacity cesspools on Maui and the Big Island.

EPA found continued use of the illegal cesspools despite a 2005 ban under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act’s Underground Injection Control program.

The County of Maui will pay a $33,000 fine for one cesspool at the Maui Raceway Track.  Maui County has since closed the illegal cesspool at the raceway.

The DLNR will pay a $50,000 fine for its cesspools at Waiʻānapanapa State Park on Maui and will close or convert smaller cesspools at seven state park and recreational areas on Maui, Oʻahu, and the Big Island.  DLNR has closed the six illegal cesspools that served the park’s 12 rental cabins at the Waiʻānapanapa State Park near Hāna and converted them to approved septic systems.

The County of Hawaiʻi will pay a $105,000 fine for its two cesspools at the Hilo Drag Strip and one at the Hilo Trap & Skeet Range.  Subsequent to the Agency’s investigations, the Hawaiʻi 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.

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“To make Hawaiʻi’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.”

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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 Hawaiʻi than any other state.

Throughout Hawaiʻi, 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.

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