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Release No. M 84-07     

August 30, 2007





The City and County of Honolulu has delivered its response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s tentative decision to deny continuation of a waiver from full secondary treatment for the Honouliuli Wastewater Treatment Plant (“HWWTP”).

“We have made a very strong case for continuation of the waiver that’s been in place for nearly two decades,” said Mayor Mufi Hannemann.  “I want to personally thank the residents of Honolulu who attended our community meetings to learn more about our position and who took the time to share their comments with the EPA.”

In its response, the City refutes EPA’s findings and conclusions and presents information that supports the agency’s reversal of its tentative decision.

“As I said at the time the initial decision came down, the denial of a 301(h) waiver for Honouliuli is unreasonable, untimely and unjustified,” Mayor Hannemann said.  “The city’s thorough and comprehensive response bears this out in great detail.”

In 1991, when EPA first issued the waiver, it found that the City met each of the nine criteria necessary for issuance.  The nine criteria have not changed since then.

As the City’s response establishes, what has happened since 1991 is that (1) the effluent quality from HWWTP has improved, (2) the City has made significant upgrades to HWWTP, and (3) years of expensive environmental monitoring, done in reliance on EPA’s decisions and guidances, confirms the City is in compliance with the nine criteria.  Yet, more than 11 years after the City’s application, instead of affirming its 1991 decision, the EPA has gone 180 degrees in the opposite direction, without any evidence that the HWWTP has had a detrimental effect on the environment or caused risk to human health. 

The City provides significant new information and data that supports its position for continuing the waiver, as well as its conclusion that the tentative decision by EPA would place an undue financial burden on wastewater customers.

“We need to continue to concentrate our efforts on our collection system,” Mayor Hannemann said.  “There are really no water quality or health benefits to be gained by spending hundreds of millions of dollars going to full secondary treatment at Honouliuli.”




Contact: Bill Brennan   527-6928              
Ross Tanimoto   768-3482


Thursday, August 30, 2007

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