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EPA fines three Big Island companies for failing to close cesspools

Release Date: 05/02/2012
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, 808-541-2711, higuchi.dean@epa.gov

Companies to pay penalties totaling over $141,000 for violating ban
(05/02/12) HONOLULU – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has resolved federal Safe Drinking Water Act cases against the Jazmin Family Trust, GLACS LLC and Hula Daddy Kona Coffee with fines totaling $141,200 for failing to close their large capacity cesspools on the Big Island.

“EPA remains steadfast in protecting Hawaii’s vital water resources,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Over 2,800 large cesspools have been closed, but an alarming 1,200 are still in use. We are working to shut these illegal cesspools down.”

The Jazmin Family Trust owns and operates the Kailua Vista Apartments in Kailua-Kona and received a penalty of $60,000 for continued operation of two large capacity cesspools at the apartment complex. The two cesspools will be closed when the apartment building is connected to a proposed extension of the Hawaii County sewer system, expected by October 2013.

EPA penalized GLACS LLC $68,000 for operation of ten large capacity cesspools, eight at the Pottery Terrace Commercial Properties and two at the Lenders Document Commercial Building in Kailua-Kona. GLACS LLC closed all of the cesspools in June 2011. The company connected the Pottery Terrace properties to the local municipal sewer and installed a state-approved individual wastewater system at the Lenders Document building.

Hula Daddy Kona Coffee operates a visitor center and tasting room for a coffee plantation in Holualoa and received a penalty of $13,200 for installing a new cesspool after the April 5, 2000 ban on the construction of large capacity cesspools. The company built the facility and began operating the new cesspool in August 2008. In September 2010, an EPA inspection and investigation prompted the owners to install a state-approved septic system, closing the cesspool in December 2010.

A large capacity cesspool discharges untreated sewage from multiple dwellings, or a non-residential location that serves 20 or more people per day. EPA regulations prohibited new large capacity cesspool construction after April 2000 and required closure of existing large cesspools as of April 2005. The regulations do not apply to single-family homes connected to their own individual cesspools.

Cesspools, which are used more widely in Hawaii than any other state, discharge raw sewage into the ground, where disease-causing pathogens and other contaminants can pollute groundwater, streams and the ocean.  Large capacity cesspools are used by restaurants, hotels, office complexes, and multiple dwellings, such as duplexes, apartments and condominiums to dispose their sanitary waste.

For more information on the large capacity cesspool ban, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/region09/water/groundwater/uic-hicesspools.html

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