Honolulu Clean Water Act Violations Resolved

April 30, 2019

The U.S. EPA has resolved Clean Water Act violations with Honolulu

The U.S. EPA has resolved Clean Water Act violations with Honolulu and Waste Management at Waimanalo Gulch Landfill. The city and county of Honolulu (CCH) and the Waste Management of Hawaii, Inc. (WMH) will pay a penalty of $425,000. This will be split between the U.S. and the State of Hawaii.

According to the EPA, Hawaii will use the funds for coral reef and habitat restoration, as well as monitoring and conservation on the leeward coast of Oahu.

The agreement calls for facility upgrades to maintain compliance with storm water regulations. According to the EPA, CCH and WMH will retrofit the landfill’s existing storm water drainage pipeline, install a trash screen, revise their storm water pollution control plan, comply with operational and monitoring limits for the storm water basin, and apply for an individual storm water permit for the facility.

“Today’s action requires the City and County of Honolulu and Waste Management to improve their stormwater drainage, controls, and monitoring program at Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill,” said Mike Stoker, EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator. “Managing stormwater runoff is critical to protecting residents’ health and Oahu’s coastal waters.”

The settlement marks the end of an effort by the EPA and Hawaii to bring the landfill into compliance with laws designed to protect public health, natural ecosystems, and wildlife.

According to the EPA, Waste Management operates the Waimanalo Gulch landfill.. In 2009, WMH and CCH began work on a landfill expansion and new storm water diversion structure. Waste Management used temporary storm water pipes to divert storm water around the landfill during construction.

“Actions detailed in this consent decree will help prevent future harmful discharges from the landfill and provide resources to restore corals that were impacted by the violations,” said Keith Kawaoka, Hawaii DOH Deputy Director of Environmental Health. “The consent decree concludes years of dispute over the horrific discharges of medical waste and sediment that occurred during the winter of 2010.”

WMH began placing waste in the landfill expansion area before completion of the storm water diversion structure. In Dec. 2010 and Jan. 2011, storms overwhelmed the temporary pipes and flooded the expanded area of the landfill.