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PR HONOLULU AGREES TO PAY PENALTIES-RECYCLING PROGRAMS

Release Date: 10/05/94
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PR HONOLULU AGREES TO PAY PENALTIES-RECYCLING PROGRAMS

FOR RELEASE: MONDAY, OCTOBER 3, 1994

HONOLULU AGREES TO PAY $1.2 MILLION IN PENALTIES AND TO SPEND AN ESTIMATED $30 MILLION FOR RECYCLING PROGRAMS

The City and County of Honolulu have agreed to overhaul their leaking sewer system after scores of waste spills into Hawaii's fabled waters, including one that poured 50 million gallons of raw sewage into Pearl Harbor. In announcing the settlement, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Hawaii Department of Health said the city and county will also pay $1.2 million in fines for polluting the water between 1987 and 1992. At least 60 spills exceeded 1,000 gallons of wastewater. Honolulu will spend another estimated $30 million on a project for treating and reusing wastewater and sludge.

Steven A. Herman, EPA Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance said, "The significant penalties assessed in this enforcement action should send a strong signal that sewage collection systems must be maintained, and that environmentally harmful wastewater discharges resulting from the failure to do such maintenance will not be tolerated. Our goal is to protect the health of the citizens of Hawaii"

"Together, the renovation of the city's 1,900 miles of sewers and the treatment efforts reflect the commitment of all of us to ensure clean water in the years to come," said Acting U.S. Assistant Attorney General for Environment and Natural Resources Lois Schiffer.

The lawsuit and settlement were filed under the Clean Water Act in the U.S. District Court in Honolulu. The complaint also charges that the City and County violated the Clean Water Act by failing to develop a pretreatment program to regulate the discharge of industrial toxic wastes which cannot be effectively processed in sewage treatment plants.

In addition to requiring pretreatment regulatory schemes, the settlement requires the City and County to undertake a long-term effort to improve the operation and maintenance of their sewers, including an assessment of the entire system and any necessary rehabilitation of the pipeline. The City and County also committed to recycle 10 tons of sludge per day by 1998, and another 10 million gallons of wastewater per day by the year 2001. The beneficial reuse of wastewater and sludge is one of EPA's enforcement priorities.

The settlement requires the City and County of Honolulu to pay $950,000 of the $1.2 million civil penalty to the United States and $250,000 to the state of Hawaii. The City and County failed to maintain Honolulu's sewers and pump stations despite millions of dollars of federal aid for wastewater systems improvements.

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94-566