In case you missed it, a federal judge has again smacked the County of Maui with Clean Water Act violations. Once again, it’s at the old Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility.
Turns out injected treated sewage into the ground there is illegal. As we’ve known for a couple years now, the waste has a way of finding its way into the ocean, where it damages the near-shore reefs. Back in May 2014, federal Judge Susan Oki Mollway slapped the county over two of the four injection wells. In late January, she hit it over the other two wells.
“This environmental disaster has been going on for over 30 years,” said David Henkin of Earthjustice (which represented a coalition of groups in court) in a Jan. 26 news release. “This latest decision is a wake up call for the County to stop using the ocean as a sewer and finally fix this problem. The County can and should re-use the millions of gallons of wastewater from the Lahaina facility to meet the needs of golf courses, resorts, and other developments, not dump them onto fragile reefs.”
County of Maui spokesman Rod Antone said in the Jan. 27 Maui News that it’s “too early” to talk about fines, though they’re going to have to at some point soon. As the Earthjustice news release pointed out, “Maximum penalties in this case already exceed $100 million, and the meter is ticking at a rate of over $100,000 per day.”
The court will impose penalties this August. Click here for Mollway’s most recent ruling.
Click here for our story on Mollway’s previous ruling.
Photo: Alfonsin11/Wikimedia Commons