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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                   May 1, 2007

Release No. M-39-07 






Mayor Mufi Hannemann will hold a community meeting on Wednesday, May 9, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., at the Ewa Beach Public Library to discuss the facts and the City’s priorities in managing Oahu’s sewage.

The  meeting is being held  to provide the public with a factual overview of Oahu’s wastewater treatment system, dispel misconceptions  and explain why the City is asking that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continue to  allow the City’s Honouliuli and Sand Island wastewater treatment plants to operate with so-called 301(h) waivers from full secondary treatment requirements. For years, the plants have been providing full primary treatment (and in the case of Honouliuli, partial secondary treatment) to wastewater before discharging it more than a mile offshore, in ocean depths of approximately 200 feet.

“Denial of the waivers, which will force us to go to secondary treatment at both plants, is unreasonable, untimely, unfair and unnecessary,” said Hannemann. “There’s no scientific proof that less than full secondary treatment here causes any harm to our environment or to the public. In fact, some scientists have argued that what we’re doing now is far better for the marine environment than if we were to go to secondary treatment at Honouliuli and Sand Island.

“Full secondary treatment will require an estimated $1.2 billion in additional construction at the two plants,” Hannemann said. “That kind of expense is unnecessary, especially in light of our efforts to work with EPA officials to address far more pressing needs to improve our collection system, the 1,400 miles of underground mains that carry wastewater to our treatment plants. Requiring full secondary treatment at Sand Island and Honouliuli, which handle 80 percent of Oahu’s wastewater, could drive monthly residential sewer fees up to $300 in less than 20 years.”

EPA informed Honolulu of a tentative denial of the 301(h) waiver for Honouliuli in March, and is expected to take similar action for Sand Island this fall.

The EPA has extended the public comment period on the denial for Honouliuli’s waiver to Aug. 27.  EPA will hold a public hearing on the Honouliuli waiver at 7 p.m. on May 15,  at Kapolei Middle School.




Media Contacts:

            Ken Kawahara, 692-5372

            Keith DeMello, 531-0244

            Mark Matsunaga, 527-5767                                                                                      


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

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