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Big Island Dairy faces more fines

Big Island Dairy is facing another set of fines for unauthorized wastewater discharges from earlier this year.

The state Department of Health issued the dairy fines of $91,000 on Dec. 4 for spills in April totaling 2.1 million gallons of wastewater.

Discharges and odors from the dairy, which is planning to cease milk production by the end of April 2019, have resulted in numerous complaints from nearby residents, some of whom filed a lawsuit.

The DOH previously fined the operation $25,000 in May 2017 for other discharges.

However, it will not face penalties from larger discharges that occurred as a result of heavy rains from Hurricane Lane.

Janice Okubo, DOH spokeswoman, said that’s likely because an emergency declaration was in effect at the time.

The amount discharged from Aug. 23-25 was about 5.8 million gallons, she said.

The dairy, owned by Derek Whitesides and Steve Whitesides, is closing because of financial issues.

It’s also exploring opportunities to sell the assets to a buyer who might continue the dairy operation, located on former sugar lands owned by the state. It’s not clear if a buyer has stepped forward.

The dairy plans to reduce the number of cows from 1,450, including 750 mature cows, in November to none by May.

Facilities will be cleaned during that time.

Email Tom Callis at tcallis@hawaiitribune-herald.com.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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