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EPA Settles with Kauai Big Save Supermarket Property Owner to Close Illegal Cesspool

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Dean Higuchi (

HONOLULU – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a settlement with N.F. Kawakami Store, Ltd.,(NFK) the property owner of the Koloa Big Save Supermarket, for failing to close a large-capacity cesspool that threatened to contaminate local water sources at the property on Kauai.

Under the settlement, NFK will pay a civil penalty of $110,000 for violating the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. In addition, NFK will close the large cesspool and replace it with a wastewater treatment plant approved by the Hawaii Department of Health. Cesspools collect and discharge waterborne pollutants like untreated raw sewage into the ground, where disease-causing pathogens can contaminate groundwater, streams and the ocean. In 2005, the federal government banned large-capacity cesspools.

“EPA is committed to protecting Hawaii’s coastal water resources by closing all large-capacity cesspools,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Our large-capacity cesspool inspection and enforcement efforts will continue until all such cesspools are shut down.”

Cesspools are used more widely in Hawaii than in any other state, even though 95 percent of all drinking water in Hawaii comes from groundwater sources. In the 13 years more than 3,400 large-capacity cesspools have been closed statewide, many through voluntary compliance.

The settlement is subject to a 30-day comment period before becoming final. For more information and to submit comments visit: and

For more information on the large-capacity cesspool ban and definition of a large-capacity cesspool, visit

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