Cesspool pumping companies criticize new city rules

SAND ISLAND, OAHU (HAWAIINEWSNOW) - New rules at the city's busiest sewage pumping stations aren't sitting well with companies that empty cesspools.

They say thousands of residents with cesspools and companies with holding tanks are being affected by the changes, which could result in higher disposal fees.

Among the changes: The city's Environmental Services Department sealed the old Sand Island dump site, a manhole on Sand Island Access Road. Cesspool pumpers now must empty their tanks at the Sand Island Waste Water Treatment Plant. It only accept loads until mid-afternoon.

"The hours went from early in the morning to 11 p.m., to 7 to 3 during the day -- with no notice," said Jimmy Sequin, owner of Aqua Pumping.

Sequin said his clients in Honolulu Harbor, like Atlantis Cruises, want their holding tanks emptied in the evening.

"We go over there when the boat comes in at 5:30 - 6 o'clock, and we pump out their boat tanks so that all the people that go on board the next day can use the bathroom," he said.

The city's also closing the Kahuku pumping station on weekends.

"Kahuku should be open every day," said George Grace, of Paradise Lua and ACME Pumping.

Sequin, meanwhile, said people from Mokuleia to Kahaluu with cesspool emergencies will have to pay more for their loads to be taken to Pearl City or Kailua.

"With the high prices of fuel and the time it takes, the amount of hours, it'll definitely cause a price hike for the customers," Grace said.

Sequin added, "The prices are going to almost triple."

He said a cesspool owner's bill on the weekend could skyrocket to $500 or more for service and disposal.

ENV Director Lori Kahikina said, "ENV notified the liquid waste haulers (LWH) following a 2014 EPA audit, changes would be taking place.  This past summer, all LWH – domestic and industrial – were issued revisions to their hauling permits stating constant monitoring would be implemented at three sites – Kahuku WWTP, Sand Island WWTP and Honouliuli WWTP.  Times of operation changed at three of our seven authorized discharge locations, which requires a city attendant to be present during discharges to our system."

Kahikinia continued, "Our Kahuku WWTP has been down since mid-December to repair bar screens, but should be available early next week.  Four discharge sites – Waianae, Pearl City, Kaneohe Pretreatment Facility, and Kailua Road Wastewater Pump Station – will retain their normal operating hours, including both Waianae and Kailua Road WWPS open until 11 p.m."

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