WAILUKU >> The Maui County Council is considering a resolution to settle a longstanding legal case over wastewater pumped into injection wells.
Council chairwoman Kelly King proposed a measure last week to withdraw a legal appeal that is headed for the U.S. Supreme Court regarding county use of injection wells, The Maui News reported. Her proposed resolution invokes a 1999 ordinance that gives the council authority to settle claims and lawsuits.
The resolution was referred to a council committee.
Injection wells are a means of disposing of wastewater, brine, water mixed with chemicals and other liquids by placing them into porous geologic formations, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
The county’s Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility processes about 4 million gallons of sewage daily, injecting treated wastewater into four injection wells.
Four environmental groups sued the county in 2012, saying effluent from its treated wastewater was reaching the ocean and impacting coral reefs. An appeals court ruled the county’s pumping of wastewater into injection wells at the Lahaina treatment plant for more than three decades violated the Clean Water Act.
The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case as early as October this year after lower courts around the country split over the reach of the Clean Water Act.
Mayor Michael Victorino has unilateral authority to withdraw the appeal, King said, adding that a high court ruling favoring the county would damage the Clean Water Act.
“Maui County should not be in that position to lead that charge,” she said.