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Jun 08, 2022

EPA Requires Closure of Kauai Cesspool, Protects Groundwater Resources

Jun 08, 2022

Koloa Self Storage illegally operated Large Capacity Cesspool beyond the 2005 deadline

HONOLULU –The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Koloa Self Storage reached settlement closing a large capacity cesspool (LCC) at Koloa Self Storage in Koloa Town in order to protect water resources in Kauai, Hawaii. Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, EPA banned LCCs in 2005.

In April 2021, EPA asked Koloa Partners LLC (Koloa Partners) for information regarding wastewater disposal at its self-storage facility. From this information, EPA determined the cesspool serving the store’s restrooms is a non-residential LCC because it has the capacity to serve 20 or more persons per day. Koloa Partners has agreed to pay an $18,000 civil penalty and the LCC was closed in March 2022. 

“It is critical that Kauai businesses use proper wastewater treatment systems to protect groundwater resources from disease-causing pollution,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “EPA continues to prioritize enforcement until all remaining large capacity cesspools operating illegally in Kauai are closed.”

Cesspools collect and release untreated raw sewage into the ground, where disease-causing pathogens and harmful chemicals can contaminate groundwater, streams, and the ocean.

Since the 2005 federal ban, more than 3,750 large capacity cesspools in Hawaii have been closed; however, hundreds remain in operation. Cesspools are used more widely in Hawaii than any other state and pose a unique challenge as groundwater provides 95 percent of all water supply for the islands.

EPA is authorized to issue compliance orders and/or assess penalties to violators of the Safe Drinking Water Act’s cesspool regulations. However, to encourage regulated entities to voluntarily discover, promptly disclose, and expeditiously close these pollution-causing systems, EPA provides penalty mitigation and other incentives for companies that self-police, disclose, correct, and prevent violations.

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Information on how to self-disclose potential large-capacity cesspool violations is available at: https://www.epa.gov/compliance/epas-edisclosure.

For more information on the federal ban and definition of a large-capacity cesspool, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/uic/large-capacity-cesspools.

For more information on cesspools in Hawaii, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/uic/cesspools-hawaii.

Media Contact: Alejandro Diaz, 808-541-2711, [email protected]

Learn more about EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region. Connect with us on Facebook and on Twitter.

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