Maui County Prepares Wastewater Dispute For Supreme Court

Aug 26, 2019

Maui County is preparing to argue in the U.S. Supreme Court that its wastewater is not harming the coastline, officials said.

Maui County is expected before the high court in November to dispute that its wastewater wells in Lahaina are not damaging to the environment, Hawaii News Now reported Friday.

The case involves treated wastewater injected into west Maui wells that eventually reaches the ocean, officials said.

The Maui County Committee on Governance, Ethics, and Transparency is expected to vote on a resolution to settle the case in a Sept. 3 meeting to keep it from reaching the Supreme Court.

"Maui County is appealing a nationwide attempt to expand the scope of regulations of the federal Clean Water Act, which Congress intended as an end-of-pipe regulation appropriate for ocean sewage outfalls and other direct discharges into bodies of water," a county spokesman said.

The wells are a practical, safe way to dispose of wastewater with no adverse effects, and they want the Supreme Court to let them keep doing it, county officials said.

The wastewater is damaging to reefs and polluting the water, and is a major test of the National Clean Water Act, plaintiffs said.

"Right now, the way this case is positioned is that it has the potential to really negatively impact waters all across the United States," said EarthJustice attorney Mahesh Cleveland.

The plaintiffs won their case in the federal appeals court, officials said.