The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced that a settlement has been reached with Dole Food Co. Inc. 

The EPA says the company failed to closed two large capacity cesspools at its Puuiki Beach Park property on Oahu.

Under the settlement, the company has closed the two cesspools and replaced them with state-approved septic systems. 

The EPA says Dole will also pay a civil penalty of $145,000 for violating the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. 

Cesspools collect and discharge waterborne pollutants like untreated raw sewage into the ground, where disease-causing pathogens can contaminate groundwater, streams and the ocean. 

In 2005, the federal government banned large-capacity cesspools.

“Closing large cesspools is essential to protecting Hawaii’s drinking water and coastal resources,” Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest said. “EPA’s large-capacity cesspool inspection and enforcement efforts will continue until illegal cesspools are a distant memory.” 

The EPA says cesspools are used more widely in Hawaii than in any other state, even though 95 percent of all drinking water in Hawaii comes from groundwater sources. 

In the thirteen years since the federal large capacity cesspool ban took effect, more than 3,400 large-capacity cesspools have been closed statewide.

The EPA says the private, 9-acre Puuiki Beach Park in Waialua is used by Dole employees for company gatherings and recreational activities. 

The Dole Food Co. is a producer of fruit and vegetables, focused primarily on pineapples at their Oahu plantation.

The settlement is subject to a 30-day comment period before becoming final. 

Click here to comment on the settlement.

Click here for more information on the large capacity cesspool ban.