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Shrimp farm wants to dump waste in ocean

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Posted: Thursday, March 18, 2010 11:45 pm

KEKAHA — Proposing to discharge up to 30 million gallons of wastewater effluent and treated shrimp remains into the ocean on a daily basis, Sunrise Capital has filed for a Draft National Pollutant Discharge Elimination permit with the state Department of Health, according to an e-mail from the DOH’s communications office Thursday.

Originally owned and operated by Ceatech USA, the Kekaha shrimp farm was acquired by Sunrise Capital in June 2005 and is currently operating at minimal capacity, said an e-mail from officials at the DOH’s Clean Water Branch.

While this has “resulted in no discharge from the property” since 2004 after the “farm became infected with a shrimp virus,” Sunrise Capital seeks to increase its operating capacity which will likely generate a maximum of 23 million gallons of biological waste each day, according to CWB officials.

 Messages left for Sunrise Capital Wednesday and Thursday were not returned.

“The ocean is not a dump,” said environmental activist Dr. Gordon LaBedz of Surfrider Kaua‘i.

Non-coastal shrimp farms can and do exist utilizing alternative methods of waste treatment and disposal, he said Thursday.

When asked if generating fuel from the waste could be a possibility, LaBedz said the amount of discharge would be insufficient to make it economically viable.

“I’m not against the shrimp farm,” said community activist Bruce Pleas.

However, when the farm was operating at full capacity from February 2000 to December 2003, the “disastrous effects” of the waste in the sea were monumental, he said.

The smell was overwhelming, the feces and dead shrimp attracted sharks, the canals were depleted, and it killed every single fish in the area, he said. In addition, the dumping affected surf spots known as Kinikinis, Major’s Bay and Family Housing.

The current can carry the waste which would allow it to “travel miles,” LaBedz said.

“The nutrient levels in the immediate vicinity of the discharge into the receiving ocean waters are expected to be elevated from ambient conditions,” the e-mail from the CWB said. “However, the adjacent coastal ocean area is not expected to have any noticeable effect associated with the shrimp-farm discharge.”

“Water monitoring” which occurred while the shrimp farm was operating at full capacity prior to 2004 “indicated that the discharge from the facility did not affect the water quality of the ocean area,” nor did it impact any adjacent biological communities, the e-mail went on to say.

In addition, Sunrise Capital will reportedly apply “numerous waste-minimization” efforts, according to the CWB. And based upon the “company’s operating history which showed no evidence of negative environmental impact..,” officials at the CWB said they are supportive of the operation’s intent to dispose between 20 million and 30 million gallons of biological waste into the ocean.

To review a copy of the NPDES application, visit http://www.hawaii.gov/health/environmental/water/cleanwater/index.html

One may also acquire a copy at the Kaua‘i District DOH office located at 3040 Umi St. in Lihu‘e. 

Comments may be sent no later than April 10 to Clean Water Branch, Environmental Management Division, Department of Health, 919 Ala Moana Blvd., Room 301, Honolulu, Hawai‘i, 96814-4920. Objections and requests for a public hearing should also be sent to that address.


• Coco Zickos, business and environmental writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 251) or czickos@kauaipubco.com.

© 2016 Thegardenisland.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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  • FarmlessLocal posted at 7:41 am on Wed, May 5, 2010.

    FarmlessLocal Posts: 1

    This Shrimp farm is "owned" by a Billion $ charitable trust of Billionaire, overthrower descendent, Steve Case. It's on land that is Native Hawaiian land, controlled by the St. Dept. of Agriculture, built with tax payer dollars, and U.S. Ec. Dev. $'s, by law, for small local farmers only. The trust doesn't qualify as a "Small farmer" neither did Ceatech, This is all completely illegal, improper. The shrimp farm needs to go and the land needs to be rehabbed, and given to small local farmers now

  • Frankie0T posted at 8:15 am on Tue, Mar 30, 2010.

    Frankie0T Posts: 41

    Some brave nonprofit cooperative has to run the waste through an anaerobic digester then ferment it into ethanol for fuel to power engines and motors adapted for ethanol 100.
    It is not economically feasible to the companies who don't want to risk their bottom line and the wrath of their owner investors.
    If farm runoff in rivers is allowed by the law why not dumping waste into the ocean. You may have to change your nickname from the "Garden Isle" to the "Garbage Isle" I hope not!

  • John Zwiebel posted at 2:17 pm on Wed, Mar 24, 2010.

    John Zwiebel Posts: 2436

    No. You cannot destroy our environment without paying for it. There must be some way to recycle the waste. If not, then the shrimp "farm" should be shut down. We no longer live in a world that can ignore the costs of the waste we produce.

  • bradobrian posted at 5:18 pm on Sun, Mar 21, 2010.

    bradobrian Posts: 19

    Enough already with thinking that Kekaha and the waters surrounding the west side are the lua for the entire island and anyone w/ some $$ to throw around. Our Westside is a unique small town culture and constantly dumping opala on us and in our waters will destroy that. Time to come up w/ better solutions politicians and stop making decisions based on who's got the most $$ to send your way. You WON'T be voted back to office!

  • lawson50 posted at 6:00 pm on Fri, Mar 19, 2010.

    lawson50 Posts: 2

    This idea is too ridiculous. Next the government will be considering all liquid waste to be fair for dumping in the ocean. Ecosystem? What's that? Come on, let's be ruled by common sense not the almighty dollar. There aren't enough dollars to repair the damage ocean dumping will do.

  • mutantme posted at 11:24 am on Fri, Mar 19, 2010.

    mutantme Posts: 32

    PLEASE, EVERYONE, WRITE A LETTER TO CLEAN WATER BRANCH (all the info is at the bottom of the article) - WE MUST MAKE OUR OPINIONS OFFICIAL AND DEMAND A HEARING!!! I'm sending my letter now.

  • weareallfromplantearth posted at 9:11 am on Fri, Mar 19, 2010.

    weareallfromplantearth Posts: 2

    Thanks to GI for this report. dumping biologocal waste in the ocean is not a good idea. Lets learn from our Canadian friends and their experince with Salman Farms, and how it devistaed the ecology of thier waters.
    lets not ruin it for the future generation veacuse a corporation wants to make a buck. KEEP THE OCEAN CLEAN FOR OUR CHILDREN.

  • JKDownDaMiddle posted at 8:51 am on Fri, Mar 19, 2010.

    JKDownDaMiddle Posts: 307

    Further more...this was not the 1st time they were shut down....the contamination continued "after" a clean-up and restart of their shrimp program....

  • tunataxi posted at 8:51 am on Fri, Mar 19, 2010.

    tunataxi Posts: 795

    I guess with a name like "anonymouse" it's stupid to expect a serious and logical comment.How big is a mouse's brain anyway?
    Perhaps we should be taking this situation seriously before it goes through.
    How about an Enviromental impact statement?? If we introduce something bad for the ecology of our shores it's IMPOSSIBLE to remove. If they introduce a virus that attacks crustaceans forget about lobsters and all the other crabs already in decline.
    Too many unknown variables! For what!Shrimp?

  • JKDownDaMiddle posted at 8:49 am on Fri, Mar 19, 2010.

    JKDownDaMiddle Posts: 307

    Ok...on top of all that you guys have posted....Do any of you remember WHY the shrimp farm was shut down?!?!?
    (A) Because the shrimp were contaminated! Unfit for human consumption.

    And so they now want to dump all that contaminated water and remains into the ocean..
    (B) the reef/ocean absorbs the contamination and it enters the food chain.
    (C) They/We end up further polluting the local waters AND ourselves! A B=C

  • Nicolai posted at 8:33 am on Fri, Mar 19, 2010.

    Nicolai Posts: 177

    Gordon Lebedz and Bruce Pleas wrote about this same topic in 2006 for the website islandbreath.org. Here's the link: http://www.islandbreath.org/2006Year/16-farming/0616-05ShrimpFarm.html

    NPDES application link never work.

    Byproducts can often be utilized as resources, but how do you deal with salt water? Perhaps if they provided enough dilution and aeration, it can raise marine algaes, clams, and even fish.

  • SaltPondSlim posted at 8:05 am on Fri, Mar 19, 2010.

    SaltPondSlim Posts: 251

    Well, let's attract as may sharks as we can to this popular surfing spot, and see if we can not only pollute the ocean but make it a dangerous place for surfers and swimmers as well. This company needs to be shut down for even THINKING they can get away with this. Again, greed is running the show on Kaua'i.

  • AnonyMouse posted at 7:21 am on Fri, Mar 19, 2010.

    AnonyMouse Posts: 978

    Actually, the discharge may help reinvigorate the sea life killed off by the gallons of surfer pee left in the ocean there.

  • tunataxi posted at 7:02 am on Fri, Mar 19, 2010.

    tunataxi Posts: 795

    So they want to dump water that not only harbors unknown virus'but surely will contain shrimp particles into the ocean offshore of a Park and surf spot!!! This is truly the worst idea i have ever heard. Unfortunately, the same government agency will over see this that brought us the "Roy" and "Taape" that is destroying the native fish populations at this very moment.There are too many unkown possibilities for disaster to let this happen.Please stop this NOW!!How many sharks will this attract??

  • BobOfTheNorth posted at 6:48 am on Fri, Mar 19, 2010.

    BobOfTheNorth Posts: 85

    So could somebody arrange for a meeting between Bruce Pleas and the "officials from the DOH Clean Water Branch" to come to some even remotely coherent story on the result of this discharge?

    How can officials conclude that there is no evidence of environmental impact, and those who have been there say that it stinks to high heaven, draws flies and sharks, and kills almost everything it touches?

    (I think I know the answer, I just thought I'd ask.)

  • Real McCoy posted at 5:58 am on Fri, Mar 19, 2010.

    Real McCoy Posts: 7


  • kalaheo123 posted at 4:06 am on Fri, Mar 19, 2010.

    kalaheo123 Posts: 1052

    Ok, let's look at the situation here. We have a company that wants to make lots of money farming animals for human consumption. Take some responsibility for that ! Clean your own dirty water and re-use it! Don't dump it into the ocean and expect everyone else to pay, just because you want to make a profit. Simply charge more for your product. There are water cleaning systems in this day and age.


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