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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has filed a complaint against a company for wastewater violations at a former sugar mill on the Big Island that was converted into a power plant seven years ago, officials said yesterday.
The complaint alleges Hilo Coast Power Co., a subsidiary of Brewer Environmental Industries, improperly discharged wastewater and lacked storm-water controls at its Pepeekeo Mill Power Generating Facility, a coal-fired power plant that produces nearly 20% of the Big Island's power, mostly along the Hamakua Coast.
EPA and state Department of Health inspectors in January and August 2001 found the alleged Clean Water Act violations at the Pepe'ekeo facility, the former sugar processing plant for the Hilo Coast Processing Co. In March 2001, the EPA issued a compliance order ordering Hilo Coast to correct the violations, and modified the order in September of that year to include additional conditions.
Dennis Poma, who was Brewer's vice president of facilities and environmental compliance until last year and is now a consultant to the company, said Brewer has spent more than $100,000 to address the EPA's 2001 complaints.
Inspectors found the facility had unpermitted discharges of process water, a lack of controls to prevent storm-water pollution, exceeded temperature limits in its discharged water, poor housekeeping practices associated with ongoing maintenance activities and a lack of storm-water management, which resulted in the discharge of pollutants, the EPA said.