After discharging millions of gallons of liquid waste into waterways, Big Island Dairy has been charged for violating the Clean Water Act by Hawaii nonprofit Kupale Ookala (KO). KO was formed by residents of Ookala, Hawaii who decided to take legal action after facing illness due to Big Island Dairy's practices.
Between May and August, more than 8 million gallons of liquid manure, cattle urine, and other noxious substances were dumped into three ravines that pass through the town of Ookala and into the ocean.
“All that effluent ended up coming into Ookala,” said KO Vice President Charlene Nishida. “The town got shut down; the school bus couldn’t deliver children.” In 2017, the Hawaii Department of Health fined Big Island Dairy for discharges and ordered the facility to cease discharging into state waters. However, the spills and manure runoff have continued, which sparked the citizens' suit.
Dairy and meat corporations are commonly charged with public health violations. Earlier this year, North Carolina residents won a longstanding series of lawsuits against Smithfield Foods, a pork producer that poisoned those living near its factory farms. Smithfield was fined $473 million.
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