HONOLULU (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced March 20 that Dole Food Co. Inc., a producer of fruits and vegetables, will pay $145,000 and replace two large-capacity cesspools (LCC) with state-approved septic systems at its Puuiki Beach Park property on the island of Oahu.

Cesspools, which are used more in Hawaii than elsewhere in the United States, collect and discharge waterborne pollutants into the ground. These pollutants can contaminate groundwater, streams and the ocean. This contamination causes a major problem for Hawaii, a state where consumers get 95 percent of their drinking water from groundwater sources. In 2005, the federal government banned large-capacity cesspools.

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

Dole will close the two cesspools and implement septic systems that have been approved by the state. The company's settlement with the EPA is currently subject to a 30-day public comment period. It will then become finalized.

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