As per the settlement, which also resolves lawsuits filed by the Sierra Club, Hawaii’s Thousand Friends and Our Children’s Earth Foundation, the city is required to upgrade its wastewater collection system by June 2020.

This includes the Honouliuli wastewater treatment plant, which needs to be upgraded to secondary treatment by 2024 and the Sand Island plant that should be upgraded by 2035.

The upgrade work includes rehabilitation and replacement of gravity and force main sewer pipes, backup strategies to minimize the risks of force main spills, improvements to cleaning and maintenance program to control fats, oils and grease from entering into the wastewater system from food establishments, and repair to pump stations.

Additionally, the city will pay a total fine of $1.6m to resolve violations of the federal Clean Water Act and the state of Hawaii’s water pollution law, which occurred in 2006 when Beachwalk force main broke and spilled approximately 50 million gallons of sewage into the Ala Wai Canal.

Ignacia Moreno, assistant attorney general of environment and natural resources division at Justice Department, said: “Today’s settlement represents a significant commitment that will address the City and County of Honolulu’s aging wastewater collection and treatment systems.”