- Associated Press - Monday, March 8, 2021

HONOLULU (AP) - The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources has been fined nearly $222,000 for operating seven large-capacity cesspools on Kauai island.

The Environmental Protection Agency banned the type of cesspool targeted in 2005 because they can pollute water resources and violate the Safe Drinking Water Act, Hawaii News Now reported Thursday.

The cesspools were at Camp Hale Koa, the Waineke Cabins and at a commercial property, the television station reported.

The EPA has taken action before against the department, has collected over $400,000 in fines and closed 74 cesspools.

Cesspools collect and release untreated raw sewage into the ground, where pathogens and harmful chemicals can contaminate groundwater, streams and oceans.

Groundwater provides about 95% of the local water supply in Hawaii, Hawaii News Now reported.

Since the 2005 EPA ban, more than 3,600 large-capacity cesspools in Hawaii have been closed, but the agency said that hundreds are still in operation.

The state land and natural resources department said in a statement that it is working with the EPA to identify and close illegal cesspools still in operation.

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