Apr 17, 2007

Honolulu’s $41M Wastewater Treatment Plan Does Not Address EPA Concerns

Honolulu officials have announced a $41 million plan to reduce bad odor and renovate Ewa's Honouliuli Wastewater Treatment Plant, but the new plan does not address Environmental Protection Agency concerns about the plant's ocean discharge.

According to the Star-Bulletin, the EPA threatened to deny the city a waiver to the federal Clean Water Act and order that waste go through another treatment layer at the plant before being dumped through an 8,760-foot underwater pipe. This decision was made because the EPA discovered that the bacteria levels near the plant's 200-foot-deep offshore pipe exceeded national standards for recreational areas.

Mayor Mufi Hannemann reported that the money will go towards upgrades required under a 1995 judicial consent decree mandating that the city improve the sewer system.

Equipment at the 22-year-old plant will be upgraded so that it may be more equipped to handle waste and reduce sediment. Hannemann reported that without these upgrades, the city would be fined. The Honouliuli treats 27 million gallons of sewage daily from Ko Olina to Red Hill.

Hannemann continues to challenge the EPA's findings about Honouliuli's waste discharge. He told the Star-Bulletin that the additional treatment phase proposed by the federal agency would cost $400 million and bring sewer fees to $300 a month.