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Hawai'i Wildlife Fund v. Maui, County of

ELR Citation: 51 ELR 20137
Nos. 12-00198 SOM/KJM, (D. Haw., 07/15/2021) (Mollway, J.)

A district court granted summary judgment for environmental groups in an ongoing dispute over a Hawaii county's release of pollutants into injection wells at a wastewater reclamation facility near the Pacific Ocean. The groups argued the county violated the CWA by failing to obtain an NPDES permit for its discharge of wastewater into the ocean. The court found that, given the undisputed evidence that the county discharged tens of thousands of gallons of wastewater from the facility on a daily basis, and balancing the factors set forth by the Supreme Court, as well as the volume factor added by this court, the discharge from the wells into the groundwater and ultimately into the ocean was the functional equivalent of a direct discharge and triggered the NPDES permit requirement. It therefore granted summary judgment for the groups.