- Associated Press - Sunday, May 7, 2017

HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii state officials have issued a fine to a dairy for illegal dumping of animal wastewater into local water supplies.

The state Department of Health announced Friday it issued a $25,000 fine to Big Island Dairy.

“Big Island Dairy will immediately cease illegal discharges and pay a penalty fee for violating environmental laws,” said Keith Kawaoka, DOH deputy director of Environmental Health. “Food production and environmental protection are not competing interests, and through this enforcement action and future permitting efforts, DOH will seek mutually beneficial results for the dairy, O’okala community, and greater State of Hawaii.”

The health department has also ordered the dairy to apply for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit, pinpoint points of discharge and develop corrective action and nutrient management plans.

The dairy has 20 days to contest the notice of violation and request a hearing.

The action comes after state conducted an inspection in late March following the complaints of nearby residents. It found 10,000 gallons (37,900 liters) of untreated water in the Kaohaoha Gulch.

The notice of intent issued by the health department last week identifies 10 discharges in nearby streams since 2014. Residents claim the discharges are weekly occurrences.

The dairy’s general manager told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald that he hopes the company and residents can find an amicable solution.

“Big Island Dairy was founded on the principles of supporting the community around us,” he said. “As one of the only local dairy farms left in Hawaii, we will continue to strive to provide a sustainable local supply of dairy products for the people of Hawaii, while protecting our natural resources and environmental quality.”

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