Lahaina Injection Wells Lawsuit: Enough Already! Just Fix the Problem

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser agrees – Enough already, Maui County! Stop trying to appeal the lawsuit and start fixing the problem!


Call/Email the Mayor & Maui Council Chair and say “ENOUGH ALREADY! Stop wasting the public’s money to defend illegal injection wells in West Maui. Spend the money instead on fixing the problem!”

Mayor Alan Arakawa

Council Chair Mike White


Background: $3 million down the toilet – Enough Already!

The County paid a main land law firm $3 million to defend its actions of injecting treated wastewater into the ocean without proper state oversight. The County was joined in its fight by the Association of American Railroads, the American Iron and Steel Institute, the American Petroleum Institute, the National Mining Association and the Fertilizer Institute.

The County lost the original court case but kept filing appeals – in total they’ve spent $3 million and lost all 4 times in court. Sierra Club Maui Group was one of 4 plaintiffs in the case, and just this month the County lost ANOTHER appeal.

The County COULD have used that money to build the infrastructure we need to support water recycling. Instead, now they’re talking about filing MORE appeals. Will this be another $3 million of public money down the toilet?

Call or email the mayor and council chair and say: Enough Already – Stop spending the public’s money on lawsuits and just fix the problem!

Campaign and meme from Tamara Paltin and

Sign Petition: Fund reclaimed water infrastructure

Dear Maui County Mayor and Council,

We the undersigned urge you to dedicate sufficient funds in the upcoming budget to fund needed infrastructure at our wastewater plants to transport and store treated water for irrigation use wherever possible.

Our Maui Island Plan calls for phasing out of injection wells and the ocean pollution they cause by 2020. Please help us all meet this goal.

[emailpetition id=”3″]

Sierra Club Wins Lahaina Injection Sewage Lawsuit

Since the early 1990s, Maui County has been aware of a probable connection between the wastewater it injects into the ground below the Lahaina sewage treatment plant and the nearby coastal waters.

And for almost as long, it has clung to the position that despite growing evidence of the connection, it did not need to obtain the permit under the Clean Water Act that would allow it to legally discharge pollutants.

On May 30, the judge handed down a 59-page order that tossed out every argument the county made, leaving it potentially liable for many millions of dollars in fines. David Henkin, the Earthjustice attorney who argued the case on behalf of the Hawaii Wildlife Fund, the Sierra Club-Maui Group, the Surfrider Foundation, and the West Maui Preservation Association, said in a news release that the maximum penalties “already exceed $100 million, and the meter is ticking at a rate of over $100,000 per day.”

The County rejected a settlement offer that would have avoided fines and far less in remedial actions that would have been win-win.