LAHAINA >> Four community groups are suing Maui County in federal court over alleged environmental violations at a Lahaina treatment plant.
The groups claim millions of gallons of wastewater injected into wells at the facility each day surface offshore of Kahekili Beach Park, killing coral and triggering outbreaks of invasive algae.
Earthjustice filed the complaint Monday on behalf of Hawaii Wildlife Fund, Surfrider Foundation, West Maui Preservation Association and Sierra Club-Maui Group. They notified the county of their intent to sue last year, alleging Clean Water Act violations have been ongoing for at least 20 years.
“We notified Maui County last June that its Lahaina facility was damaging the reef and operating illegally, in hope that the county would voluntarily seek the required permit for wastewater discharges from the injection wells,” said Earthjustice attorney Caroline Ishida. “Unfortunately, it apparently takes an enforcement action to get the county to do anything, which is why we’re not seeking relief from the court.”
County spokesman Rod Antone said corporation counsel attorneys had yet to receive the complaint, but that pending litigation prevents officials from commenting.
The suit asks that the county be directed to secure a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit