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Posted on: November 19, 2021

Maui County announces resolution in Hawaii Wildlife lawsuit

The County of Maui will not appeal Judge Susan Oki Mollway’s decision regarding operation of the Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility.

“Maui County’s goal has always been to seek clarity in the law,” said Corporation Counsel Moana M. Lutey. In April 2020, the United States Supreme Court established a seven-part test then sent the case back to Judge Mollway to apply that test.

When the case was returned to Judge Mollway, she determined that the County needs a Clean Water Act NPDES permit, based in part on a finding that over several years, less than 2% of the recycled water reaches fresh water seeps at the shoreline.

“We now have clarity in the law from the U.S. Supreme Court, and will continue to work with the State of Hawaii Department of Health to apply the high court’s instructions going forward,” Lutey said.

The County’s focus continues to be maximizing beneficial reuse of recycled water, reducing or eliminating use of injection wells. The County has been actively working toward these outcomes for decades. In Lahaina, the Department of Environmental Management is rehabilitating upper-elevation reservoirs so that the water can be pumped and stored there for use on the slopes. This can provide water for irrigation as well as establish greenbelts for fire protection.

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