Thursday, September 21, 2017

Matson Terminals to pay $725,000 to settle Hawaii molasses spill case

Matson Terminals Inc. will pay a civil penalty of $725,000 as part of a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over violations of the federal Clean Water Act stemming from a September 2013 molasses spill into Honolulu Harbor.

Matson spilled about 233,000 gallons of sugar-cane molasses into Honolulu Harbor during ship-loading activities in September 2013, the EPA said in a recent release.

“The spill occurred from a section of pipe that the Hawaii Department of Transportation found was leaking in 2012, and reported to Matson,” the EPA said in the release. “The molasses discharge killed approximately 25,000 fish in the harbor and damaged coral reefs in the area. Matson no longer ships molasses from Honolulu Harbor.

Dockside facilities must ensure their operations do not pollute nearshore waters, Alexis Strauss, EPA’s acting regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest, said in the release. “The Honolulu Harbor spill affected marine life, coral reefs and kept residents and visitors from enjoying the city’s incomparable coastal environment.”

The recent settlement comes after Matson had reached a plea agreement with the U.S. attorney’s office in January 2015 resulting in Matson being fined $400,000 plus restitution of $600,000 after pleading guilty to criminal charges of illegally releasing molasses into Honolulu Harbor, the EPA said.

“The restitution was divided equally between the Waikiki Aquarium to support coral reef programs and invasive algae cleanups and Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii to inspire local communities to care for coastlines through beach cleanups," EPA said. 

Organizations in this story

Environmental Protection Agency Region 9 75 Hawthorne Street San Francisco, CA - 94105

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