State to hold meetings on cesspools

LIHUE — The Hawaii State Department of Health will hold two public informational meetings on Maui and Oahu this month to explain the impact cesspools are having on drinking water and sensitive surface waters.

The meetings will also provide information on possible solutions to the cesspools.

Public informational meeting dates and locations for Kauai and Hawaii Island are being finalized.

Last month, the health department submitted a report on cesspools to the Legislature. Based on an analysis of existing cesspool data and water quality samples collected over the past several months, the health department identified 14 priority areas statewide where cesspools are beginning to affect drinking water, streams or beaches.

On Kauai, those areas are Kapaa/Wailua, with roughly 2,900 cesspools; Poipu/Koloa, with 3,600 cesspools; and Hanalei, with 270 cesspools.

The first meetings will be held at the two highest priority areas: on Maui on Tuesday and on Oahu on Friday.

A number of representatives from the Hawaii Department of Health will participate in the meetings.

In last year’s legislative session, legislators passed a bill to address the cesspool situation, and the bill was signed into law by Gov. David Ige in July.

Act 125 requires all cesspools in the state to be upgraded, converted or connected to the sewer system before 2050 unless they are exempted.

The law also broadens eligibility criteria for tax credits to offset the costs for homeowners.

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