DOE agrees to close cesspools
The state will convert 320 large-capacity tanks to comply with federal pollution laws
Hawaii's state Department of Education has reached an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to close 320 large-capacity cesspools around the state.
The Department of Education will install on-site treatment systems at most of the schools and, where possible, will connect to the sewer system.
"By agreeing to close over 300 large capacity cesspools, the Hawaii DOE will significantly reduce the amount of untreated waste released into the environment statewide," said Alexis Strauss, EPA water division director for the Pacific Southwest, in a release announcing the agreement.
When completed, the conversions will bring the DOE into compliance with federal Safe Drinking Water Act regulations.
Cesspools discharge raw sewage into the ground, which can release disease-causing pathogens and other contaminants, including nitrates, into groundwater, streams and the ocean, the EPA said.
A large-capacity cesspool discharges untreated sewage from a multiple dwelling or non-residential facility serving 20 or more people a day. The EPA is requiring all large-capacity cesspools to be upgraded or closed.
"We are pleased to have reached this agreement with the EPA and appreciate their efforts in working with us towards this important undertaking," said Randy Moore, DOE acting assistant superintendent for business services, in the EPA release.