HONOLULU (KHON2) — After years of court battles, a federal court has ruled that Maui County will be required to get discharge permits for wastewater wells.
This new court ruling is the first in the nation to enforce a Clean Water Act permit requirement, which the Supreme Court outlined in 2020. The landmark case established a test for figuring out which wells are the “functional equivalent” of discharging straight into rivers and oceans.
Environmental advocates say the ruling closes a loophole that polluters have used to evade permits.
Maui’s injection wells have at times discharged tens of thousands of gallons per day of treated sewage water into the ocean. The Health Department told KHON2 they are reviewing and evaluating the ruling at this time.
Maui County officials said they felt disappointed in the ruling and that Maui prides itself on environmental stewardship.