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Four community groups sue Maui County over sewage discharge

May 3, 2012
The Maui Weekly

Environment News Service - Hawai'i Wildlife Fund, Surfrider Foundation, West Maui Preservation Association and Sierra Club Maui have filed suit in federal district court under the Clean Water Act, charging Maui County with discharging wastewater from injection wells into the ocean near the Lahaina treatment plant without a permit.

The plaintiffs claim that three to five million gallons of wastewater enter injection wells at the facility daily, and that much of this water enters the water at nearby Kahekili Beach Park. Their lawsuit claims that the county knowingly discharges partially treated wastewater into the ocean, and has deliberately chosen not to apply for a federal wastewater discharge permit.

Studies using tracer dye conducted by the U.S. EPA and UH scientists have shown the connection between the injection wells and the nearshore waters of West Maui. Opponents point out health risks to tourists, damage to native marine flora and fauna, and economic risks to onshore businesses who lose income during algae blooms or pollution scares.

Nonprofit public-interest law firm Earthjustice is representing the group of plaintiffs in this case against the county.



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