Input sought on Nawiliwili pollution

NAWILIWILI — Clean water is everyone’s kuleana and the state Department of Health is waiting until Sept. 2 so the public can be involved in the decision-making process involving Total Maximum Daily Loads.

David Penn, the TMDL coordinator from the DOH, conducted a public information meeting Wednesday night at the Niumalu Park pavilion involving representatives of the various state agencies, conservation and environmental groups and community residents.

Early assessment of Nawiliwili Bay, visual inspections of streams and information identified several areas where water quality is “limited” or “impaired,” states a handout distributed at the meeting.

These include areas at Huleia, Papakolea, Puali and Nawiliwili Stream which has limitations including excessive sediment, excessive nitrogen, excessive phosphorus and excessive levels of indicator bacteria, or enterococcus, in all four streams.

TMDLs are being established to help reduce pollutant loads resulting in improved water quality and increasing the public’s ability to enjoy legally-protected uses such as recreation, aesthetic enjoyment, ecosystem protection and native breeding.

In order to satisfy federal Clean Water Act requirements, several agencies collaboratively are working to conduct a federally funded water quality planning process for four major streams that flow into Nawiliwili Bay.

These studies lead to suggestions on how pollutants, pollutant source areas and stream environments could be managed to achieve necessary water quality improvements to bring the bay’s quality up to Clean Water Act standards.

The TMDL program is a coorperative effort of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state DOH.

The DOH environmental Planning Office with technical assistance from the DOH Clean Water Branch and the DOH State Laboratories Division are involved in the effort with community interests helping identify water pollution problems and create water quality solutions in the Nawiliwili Bay watershed.

The draft decision document entitled “Total Maximum Daily Loads for Nutrients, Sediment and Bacterial Indicator in Four Major Streams of the Nawiliwili Bay Watershed, Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i,” is available for public inspection at the Kaua‘i District Health Office, 3040 Umi St., Lihu‘e, and the East Kaua‘i Soil and Water Conservation District office at 4334 Rice St., Room 104, Lihu‘e.

Comments on the proposed decision must be received in writing no later than 4:30 p.m., Sept. 2.

Comments should be sent to the Program Manager, Environmental Planning Office, State of Hawai‘i Department of Health, 919 Ala Moana Blvd., Room 312, Honolulu, HI 96814.

The public comments and the DOH response will be used to revise the draft decision document as necessary for final EPA approval of the proposed TMDLs.

For more information, visit the DOH Environmental Planning Office Web site at www.hawaii.gov/health/epo

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