State fines Big Island Dairy over fecal pollution violations

Published: May. 5, 2017 at 5:07 PM HST|Updated: May. 5, 2017 at 5:16 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state Department of Health has fined a large Big Island dairy for the "unlawful discharge of wastewater" into local water supplies.

In addition to the $25,000 fine, O'okala's Big Island Dairy, LLC  was ordered Friday to "immediately cease discharging wastewater" -- and take preventative actions to prevent further wastewater spills.

"Big Island Dairy will immediately cease illegal discharges and pay a penalty fee for violating environmental laws," said Keith Kawaoka, DOH deputy director of Environmental Health. "Food production and environmental protection are not competing interests, and through this enforcement action and future permitting efforts, DOH will seek mutually beneficial results for the dairy, O'okala community, and greater State of Hawaii."

The state says inspections conducted in March -- which took place following complaints by community activists -- found "clear evidence" of discharges composed of animal wastewater, biosolids and dirt. 

Residents of the small town had already threatened to sue the dairy over the concerns for which they were fined Friday by the state.

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