Mar 21, 2018

EPA Closes Dole Food Co. Cesspools, Protects Water Quality

The settlement requires Dole Food Co. to close two large-capacity cesspools and replace them with septic systems

EPA requires Dole Food to close cesspools

The U.S. EPA announced a settlement with Dole Food Co. Inc. for failing to close two large-capacity cesspools (LCC) at its Puuiki Beach Park property on Oahu.

Under the settlement, the company has closed the two cesspools and replaced them with state-approved septic systems. In addition, Dole will pay a civil penalty of $145,000 for violating the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. Cesspools collect and discharge waterborne pollutants such as untreated raw sewage into the ground, where disease-causing pathogens can contaminate groundwater, streams and the ocean. In 2005, the federal government banned large-capacity cesspools.

“Closing large cesspools is essential to protecting Hawaii’s drinking water and coastal resources,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s acting regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “EPA’s large-capacity cesspool inspection and enforcement efforts will continue until illegal cesspools are a distant memory.”

Cesspools are used more widely in Hawaii than in any other state, even though 95% of all drinking water in Hawaii comes from groundwater sources. In the thirteen years since the federal LCC ban took effect, more than 3,400 large-capacity cesspools have been closed statewide, many through voluntary compliance.

The private, 9-acre Puuiki Beach Park in Waialua is used by Dole employees for company gatherings and recreational activities. The Dole Food Co. is a producer of fruit and vegetables, focused primarily on pineapples at their Oahu plantation.