Wednesday, May 27, 2020

EPA takes action on illegal cesspools in Hawaii

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on Wednesday that it has completed enforcement actions against three hospitality businesses in Hawaii over their failure to close large capacity cesspools, which were banned in 2005. The action included fines of more than $300,000.

The actions dealt with violations by Maui’s Travaasa Hotel Hana Resort, Vacation Inns International on Oahu and the Big Island’s Shaka’s Pahoa LLC. Cesspools discharge raw sewage into the ground and can contaminate groundwater, streams and the ocean with disease-causing pathogens and harmful chemicals. Large capacity cesspools were banned for multiple residential dwellings and for non-residential locations with a capacity to serve more than 20 people.

“Cesspools serving resorts and restaurants can pollute the groundwater and nearshore waters where people swim,” EPA Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest Jared Blumenfeld said. “EPA is committed to protecting Hawaii’s precious water resources by closing down all large capacity cesspools.”

Travaasa Hotel Hana Resort has will pay a fine of $187,500 and has replaced many of its cesspools with sceptic systems over the past three years. It will close its remaining 14 cesspools in the next two years. Vacation Inns International has committed to the same with its six cesspools and will pay a $40,000 fine. Shaka’s Pahoa, which operates the Pahoa Café nightclub, has closed one cesspool and will close a remaining one in the near future. It will pay a civil penalty of $82,425.

The EPA has also filed a civil complaint against Waimanalo landowner Keith Ward for two illegal cesspools that serve Serg’s Mexican Kitchen restaurant.

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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

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