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Release Date: 7/24/1998
Contact Information: Paula Bruin, U.S. EPA, (415) 744-1587

     (San Francisco)--The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) and the Hawaii State Department of Health today announced the proposed renewal of the city and county of Honolulu's Sand Island wastewater treatment plant secondary treatment waiver, allowing the city and county to discharge wastewater that has received primary treatment under specific guidelines to protect ocean waters.  Since 1990, the city and county of Honolulu has operated the facility under a wastewater treatment permit and waiver from secondary sewage treatment requirements.  In today's action, U.S. EPA and Hawaii DOH propose to renew the  permit with specific wastewater discharge limits and improved monitoring.

     Under the terms of the proposed permit, the city and county of Honolulu has agreed to upgrade their treatment to improve the treatment plant's performance and reliability.  The proposed permit would also require the addition of a disinfection process to further reduce bacteria in the treated discharge.  

     "We have developed more stringent limits on what can be discharged and new monitoring requirements which will yield a better understanding of what's happening in the marine environment," said Alexis Strauss, U.S. EPA's western regional water division's director. "Our limits will assure that a higher treatment level will be maintained by the city and county of Honolulu over the next few years.  The city and county of Honolulu will also be collecting additional data on shoreline bacteria to ensure we can protect recreational uses."

     U.S. EPA and DOH will hold a public hearing to allow the public to provide written and verbal comments on the proposed permit.  The public hearing will be held at 7:00 p.m., August 25, 1998, in the 5th Floor Conference Room, 919 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu.  The public is also invited to an informational workshop at 6:00 p.m. preceding the hearing at the same location.

     Written comments on the draft permit renewal may also be submitted to the attention of Robyn Stuber at U.S. EPA or Alec Wong at DOH at the addresses shown below.  They must be postmarked by August 25, 1998.

     Copies of the draft permit, along with supporting data and related documents, are available for review between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the following locations:
     Hawaii State Department of Health
    Clean Water Branch
    919 Ala Moana Blvd., Room 301
    Honolulu, HI 96814-4920
    (808) 586-4309

     U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
     Region IX, WTR-5
     75 Hawthorne St.
     San Francisco, CA 92501-3339
     (415) 744-1921

     The permit renewal includes discharge limitations for solids, biochemical oxygen demand, bacteria indicators, pH and chronic toxicity.  It also contains a monitoring program designed to evaluate the impact of the wastewater discharge on the ocean environment, demonstrate compliance with applicable water quality standards, and measure toxic substances in the discharge. The effluent will continue to be discharged via an outfall pipe terminating about 1.7 miles offshore from Sand Island, at a depth of about 235 feet.  The permit, including the variance from secondary sewage treatment requirements, is renewable every five years.

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