Dole Foods reaches settlement with EPA after failing to close cesspools

Dole Foods reaches settlement with EPA after failing to close cesspools

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Dole Foods has reached a settlement with the Environmental Protection agency after it failed to close two large cesspools at Puuiki Beach Park.

As part of the settlement, Dole Foods has closed the two cesspools on its property and replaced them with state-approved septic systems. Dole will also have to pay a $145,000 fine as part of the agreement.

Cesspools gather and secrete pollutants like raw sewage into the ground where disease causing bacteria can infect groundwater, streams and the ocean.

The U.S. government banned large-capacity cesspools, like the ones previously on Dole property, 13 years ago.  The private nine-acre site is used by Dole employees for company gatherings.

"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, in a news release.

"EPA's large-capacity cesspool inspection and enforcement efforts will continue until illegal cesspools are a distant memory."

According to the EPA, cesspools are used more in Hawaii than in any other state, despite the fact that 95 percent of the Aloha State's drinking water comes from the ground. More than 3,400 cesspools have been closed statewide since the 2005 federal mandate.

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