EPA protects Hawaii Island water resources, orders closure of illegal cesspools at My Self Storage

(3/8/2023) EPA protects Hawaii Island water resources, orders closure of illegal cesspools at My Self Storage
Owner of self-storage business will close cesspools and pay $53,011 penalty
HONOLULU (March 8, 2023) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has taken an enforcement action to close two illegal large-capacity cesspools at the My Self Storage locations in Kailua-Kona and Kealakekua. Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, EPA banned such cesspools in 2005.
“Hawai‘i companies must protect our surface water and groundwater resources from the disease-causing pollution found in large-capacity cesspools,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “EPA will continue to find and require the closure of all remaining illegal cesspools throughout Hawai‘i.”
Both locations are less than two miles from important fishing and recreation areas on Hawai‘i Island’s leeward coast. In July 2021, EPA inspected both self-storage locations and found two unlawful cesspools serving the properties. SC Kona Self Storage LP—which owns the My Self Storage locations on Hawai‘i Island—settled the case, agreeing to close the illegal cesspools by April 1, 2023, and pay a $53,011 penalty.
These cesspools meet the regulatory criteria of unlawful non-residential large-capacity cesspools because they could serve 20 or more persons per day. EPA is authorized to issue compliance orders and/or assess penalties to violators of the Safe Drinking Water Act’s cesspool regulations.
Cesspools collect and release untreated raw sewage into the ground, where disease-causing pathogens and harmful chemicals can contaminate groundwater, streams, and the ocean.
Since the 2005 federal ban, more than 3,750 LCCs in Hawai‘i have been closed; however, hundreds remain in operation. Cesspools are used more widely in Hawai‘i than any other state and pose a unique challenge as groundwater provides 95 percent of all water supply for the islands.
Information on the federal ban and a definition of a large-capacity cesspool is available on the EPA’s LCC website. Also, click here for more information on cesspools in Hawai’i.
To encourage regulated entities to voluntarily discover, promptly disclose and expeditiously close these pollution-causing systems, EPA provides penalty mitigation and other incentives for companies that proactively find and close large-capacity cesspools on their property.
Information on how to self-disclose potential large-capacity cesspool violations is available at EPA’s eDisclosure website.
Contact Information
Alejandro Diaz (diaz.alejandro@epa.gov)