Mar 30, 2007

Hawaiian Wastewater Plant Requires $400 Million in EPA Upgrades

The EPA has announced that the Honouliuli Wastewater Treatment Plant does not meet national water quality requirements. The potential upgrades could cost the city $400 million.

Honolulu’s Mayor Mufi Hannemann told the Honolulu Advisor that the city is prepared to fight the EPA and the upgrades are not necessary. However, the EPA reports that discharged water from the plant has bacteria levels that exceed the national criteria. The Sand Island wastewater treatment plant is also under scrutiny.

If both wastewater plants are upgraded, it could cost the city $1.2 billion. Hannemann reported that this could lead to homeowners paying $300 a month for sewer service within 20 years.

On Thursday the EPA reported that the plant might not be allowed to renew its permit variance, which would mean the plant must perform full secondary treatment. The Sand Island plant could also be denied the same permit.

The EPA told the Honolulu Advisor that the water quality testing showed that the Honoluiliuli discharge exceeds toxicity and ammonia standards. Three recent samples also exceeded the State Department of Health criteria for the pesticide dieldrin and some exceeded the criteria for chlordane.