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EPA FINES HAWAIIAN ELECTRIC $200,000 FOR WATER VIOLATIONS

Release Date: 12/21/2000
Contact Information: Lisa Fasano, U.S. EPA, (415) 744-1587

     CLEAN WATER ACT VIOLATIONS MAY HAVE POLLUTED HARBORS
                               
     SAN FRANCISCO  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today fined the Hawaiian Electric Company $200,000 for Clean Water Act and water discharge permit violations at the Honolulu and Waiau generating stations on Oahu, Hawaii that may have lead to the discharge of potentially toxic pollutants into the Honolulu and Pearl Harbors.

     HECO'S two generating stations are being fined for several violations stemming from a lack of adequate oversight controls over its wastewater discharges including failures to: perform required toxicity tests, properly calibrate meters, properly safeguard samples, report test results and conduct storm water inspections.  All are violations of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System and the Clean Water Act.

     "Accurate self monitoring of runoff and wastewater discharges is essential to maintain healthy waters throughout Hawaii," said Alexis Strauss, U.S. EPA's water director for the Pacific Southwest.  "Diligent oversight of the permit requirements by these facilities will minimize the amount of harmful pollutants discharged into the harbors."

     Wastewater discharge permits require proper monitoring and self-reporting.  If a facility does not rigorously manage its monitoring and sampling program there is zero confidence in the reported data and no way to adequately confirm that discharges are within permitted amounts that will not harm the environment.

     A U.S. EPA inspector and Hawaii Department of Health staff inspected the two facilities in September 1999. Inspectors discovered a number of violations of their NPDES permit under the Clean Water Act.  Although the authority for monitoring discharge permits is usually delegated to the states, the U.S. EPA occasionally conducts spot inspections.  The Clean Water Act allows fines up to $27,500 per violation, per day.  Hawaiian Electric has agreed to the penalty, and has revised its corporate procedures and is correcting the problems.
                             

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