SAN FRANCISCO – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced a settlement with EAN Holdings, LLC, the operator of Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Truck in Hilo, Hawaii, to resolve a claim of violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Since February 2017, EAN has operated illegal, pollution-causing large capacity cesspools (LCC) serving its check-in site for car and truck rentals. Use of an LCC is a violation of federal regulations.
“Large capacity cesspools have been banned throughout Hawaii since 2005,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “EPA will continue to use our enforcement authority to close unlawful cesspools, as they pose a serious risk of contaminating Hawaii’s precious groundwater and coastal resources.”
EPA is authorized to issue compliance orders and/or assess penalties to violators of the Safe Drinking Water Act’s underground injection control regulations. EPA engaged with EAN in September 2021 to seek information on the method of wastewater disposal at the Hilo property and discovered that EAN was operating two illegal large capacity cesspools at the site. As a result, EAN agreed to pay a $132,402 penalty and properly close the unlawful LCCs by October 30, 2023.
Cesspools collect and release untreated raw sewage into the ground, where disease-causing pathogens and harmful chemicals can contaminate groundwater, streams, and the ocean.
Since the 2005 federal ban, more than 3,750 large capacity cesspools in Hawaii have been closed; however, hundreds remain in operation. Cesspools are used more widely in Hawaii than any other state and pose a unique challenge as groundwater provides 95 percent of all water supply for the islands.
To encourage regulated entities to voluntarily discover, promptly disclose, and expeditiously close these pollution-causing systems, EPA provides penalty mitigation and other incentives for companies that proactively find and close LCCs on their property. Information on how to self-disclose potential large-capacity cesspool violations is available here.
You can view the public notice of this settlement here.
Learn more about the federal ban and definition of a large-capacity cesspool.
Learn more about cesspools in Hawai’i.
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Author: Region 09