EPA orders Pepsi Bottling Group to correct stormwater, industrial wastewater violations on Oahu

On March 8, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ordered Pepsi Bottling Group to comply with Clean Water Act requirements at its bottling facility in Aiea, Hawaii.

The EPA action cites the lack of a permit to discharge stormwater from the company's facility and associated unauthorized site stormwater discharges, which enter Halawa Stream and Pearl Harbor's East Loch. Pepsi Bottling also sent acidic industrial effluent to the city and county of Honolulu's sewers in violation of the low pH requirement under the EPA's general pretreatment regulations.

The company faces federal fines of up to $32,500 per day per violation if it fails to comply with the terms of the order.

"Any stormwater discharges from operations like Pepsi Bottling's must be properly permitted and have pollution controls in place to protect Hawaii's coastal waters and coral reefs," said Alexis Strauss, the EPA's director for water programs in the Pacific Southwest region. "The company must also properly treat its industrial wastewater before discharging it to the city's sewers."

In January, EPA and Department of Health inspectors found that the company:

  • did not have a sufficient stormwater runoff containment system for the its sugar storage area;
  • did not have proper procedures in place in its vehicle washing area to control runoff and sediment;
  • failed to pre-treat its sewage properly to permitted pH levels; and
  • had operated since at least 1992 without the proper general stormwater permit.

The EPA's order requires Pepsi Bottling to submit a revised stormwater permit application. The company will have 30 days to clean up its facility to prevent industrial pollutants from entering into stormwater runoff. The facility also must measure and submit pH monitoring results.

In three months, the company will need to submit for the EPA's approval a pH compliance plan and implement a training program that will ensure workers in manufacturing, cleaning or wastewater treatment can carry out proper waste management practices. The EPA found similar violations and has issued other compliance orders against Pepsi Bottling at some of its California facilities.

Low pH wastewater can cause sewer corrosion and collapses of sewer lines, which often result in sewer overflows and discharges of raw sewage. Sewer overflows can also be caused by oily and greasy wastes blocking sewer lines.

For more information visit www.epa.gov.

This article originally appeared in the 03/01/2005 issue of Environmental Protection.

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