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K. Taniguchi, Ltd. reaches agreement with the EPA

KTA Puainako store

KTA Puainako store


(Hilo, Hawaii – June 26, 2009) – K. Taniguchi, Ltd., sister company of KTA Super Stores, agreed to pay a fine to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for not meeting deadlines to phase out large capacity cesspools at its Puainako store site.

“We believed the best solution was to work with Hawaii County to expand the municipal sewer system and connect to it,” said Andrew Chun, administrative officer of K. Taniguchi, Ltd., which owns the land at the grocery store site. A municipal line would have benefitted other businesses and residents in the area, too.

When the County found cost and topography too challenging, the company sought other options and failed to meet a 2005 deadline.

“We’ve cooperated fully with both the EPA and the state Department of Health to resolve this issue,” Chun said. The company planned to install an innovative newer technology, but that was determined to be unreliable for the site conditions.

The final choice was septic tanks with leach pits. Today four of the five cesspools have been converted and the last will be finished well before the September mandate, Chun said.

The company agreed to pay an $82,000 fine to EPA. The proposed fine is pending a 30-day public comment period.

K.Taniguchi Ltd. is part of operations begun by Koichi and Taniyo Taniguchi, who opened the first KTA grocery store in 1916 in Hilo. Today, KTA Super Stores continues to be locally owned and operated with six stores and more than 800 employees throughout Hawaii Island.

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