The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered the City and County of Honolulu to correct their monitoring and maintenance violations at the Honouliuli Wastewater Treatment Plant in Ewa.
The city could face fines of up to $25,000 per day, per violation if they do not comply with the terms of the order.
At the end of October, the city will need to improve the maintenance at the wastewater plant and immediately begin reporting to the EPA, specific monitoring results for the discharged wastewater.
"To protect water quality in the Pacific Ocean, and all of us who benefit from it, water discharged from any wastewater plant needs to be monitored closely to ensure that it meets water quality standards,"said Alexis Strauss, director for the EPA Pacific Southwest Region's Water Division. "With this action, EPA is requiring the city to comply with the monitoring conditions in its wastewater permit for the Honouliuli plant, which serves Central Oahu and Ewa. We are confident the city will take the necessary corrective action."
Inspectors from the EPA and the state health department inspected the facility in August 2003. Specifically, the EPA action requires the City to:
- Install wastewater flow monitoring for both the incoming sewage and the treated wastewater to measure the true efficiency of the plant;
- Repair leaking valves from the primary clarifiers;
- Sample and submit certified data on the incoming sewage and the treated wastewater as indicated in the discharge permit;
- Explain all flow estimates, data submissions and other non-compliance issues that resulted from the lack of adequate flow monitoring.
The Honouliuli plant receives and treats about 28 million gallons of wastewater per day and also produces 4 million gallons of reclaimed wastewater per day that is used for irrigation. The EPA and the state establish specific water quality standards and wastewater permit conditions to protect ocean water quality in Hawaii.