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Big Island Dairy facing lawsuit

June 29, 2017 - 12:05am

HILO — A group of Ookala residents is moving forward with a lawsuit against Big Island Dairy for alleged violations of the federal Clean Water Act.

Kupale Ookala and the Center for Food Safety filed the suit Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Honolulu.

The litigation follows a notice of intent filed a couple months ago and focuses on complaints about polluted water in streams that flow through or adjacent to the 2,500-acre dairy on state land mauka of Ookala and Highway 19.

Residents who are participating in the lawsuit say they are trying to hold the dairy and regulatory agencies accountable for releases of manure.

“Big Island Dairy has been dumping manure on the residents of Ookala, including flooding our properties, for many years,” resident Genard Frazier said in a press release. “Our community is standing strong to protect itself from the dairy’s pollution and the failure of the state to protect its people.”

Brad Duff, dairy manager, didn’t return a request for comment.

The state Department of Health fined the dairy $25,000 in May for unlawful discharge of wastewater into a nearby gulch.

Residents say they continue to witness polluted water in the streams.

DOH confirmed earlier discharges in 2014 but took no action, frustrating the community.

Email Tom Callis at tcallis@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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