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Release Date: 4/24/1998
Contact Information: David Schmidt, U.S. EPA, (415) 744-1578

     (San Francisco)--The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) today announced it is reopening the public comment period for an additional 60 days on its proposal to issue an underground injection control (UIC) permit to Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) and its operator COSI Puna, Inc. in Pahoa, Hawaii.  

     There are two reasons for reopening the public comment period.  One is to enable the public to review and comment on the map of PGV's proposed well pad locations which PGV provided at the April 3, 1998, public hearing.  This map will be mailed to everyone on EPA's mailing list and will be available at the following libaries:  Pahoa Public Library, the Keeau Public Library, the Hilo Public Library, and the University of Hawaii Library at Hilo.  The map can also be obtained by contacting the U.S. EPA's Honolulu office at the address and phone listed below.  The other reason for reopening the public comment period is to allow the public to review the proposed permit's administrative record, which will available at the Pahoa Public Library beginning on May 15, 1998.  The administrative record contains all documents that were considered in the development of the draft permit.  During the reopened public comment period, people may comment on any aspect of the proposed permit and PGV's application.  This public comment period will close on June 23, 1998.  

     The proposed permit, under the Safe Drinking Water Act, would authorize PGV to operate three existing geothermal injection wells and to construct up to seven new wells under conditions set by the permit.   The proposed permit would require safeguards to protect groundwater resources, ensure safe operation of the system, and protect public health and the environment.

     The Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) is also reopening its public comment period on the renewal of its existing state permit to PGV for three injection wells and on PGV's application for approval to construct seven new wells.
     The Puna facility produces electricity using steam from groundwater that is heated by a subsurface geothermal resource.  The condensed steam and geothermal brine and noncondensible gases from the production wells are reinjected back into the geothermal reservoir at depths below 3,900 feet.  Federal and state UIC programs regulate the injection of these fluids and gases.  U.S. EPA has the primary responsibility to implement the federal UIC program.

     In addition to the administrative record, which is available at the Pahoa Public Library, U.S. EPA documents relevant to the PGV permit, including the map, a federal fact sheet, and the state and federal permit applications, are available at:

Pahoa Public Library            Hilo Public Library
15-3070 Pahoa Kalapana Road     300 Waianuenue Avenue
Pahoa, Hawaii                   Hilo, Hawaii

University of Hawaii Library    U.S. EPA Pacific Island Contact Office
200 West Kawili Street          Federal Building
Hilo, Hawaii                    300 Ala Moana Blvd, Room 5124
                                Honolulu, Hawaii

Keaau Public Library 16-571 Keaau Pahoa Road Keaau, Hawaii

     U.S. EPA documents relating to the proposed permit, with the exception of the administrative record and the PGV permit application, are also available on the Agency's Web site at  

     The public may also send written comments, postmarked or delivered by June 23, 1998,
     Shannon FitzGerald
     Ground Water Office, WTR-9
     U.S. EPA Region 9
     75 Hawthorne St.
     San Francisco, CA 94105
     fax: (415) 744-1235

     The Safe Drinking Water Branch
     Hawaii Department of Health
     919 Ala Moana Blvd., Room 308
     Honolulu, HI 96814
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