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Construction Work Starts at Kealakehe Recycling & Transfer Station October 2

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Environmental Management announces that work to remediate the area used for scrap metal processing at the Kealakehe Recycling and Transfer Station will start on or about October 2, 2017.

The project was awarded to contractor Isemoto Contracting Co., Ltd, and is anticipated to be completed by August 1, 2018.

The transfer station, greenwaste, white goods, scrap metal, reuse center, HI5 redemption, and mulch pickup are not affected and will remain open.  The site for e-waste collection will temporarily move to the same site as the Household Hazardous Waste collection.

The Department of Environmental Management apologizes for any inconvenience the project activities may cause.

For more information, please contact Gregory Goodale, Solid Waste Division Chief at 961-8515.

International Task Force Focuses on Protecting West Coast From Oil Spills

Western states and provinces on the Pacific Ocean will gather this year in Honolulu to discuss how best to protect the West Coast from oil spills.

Annual Meeting will take place at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort

The Hawaii Department of Health is hosting this year’s Annual Meeting of the Pacific States/British Columbia Oil Spill Task Force, comprised of Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, and Hawaii. The Task Force provides a forum where members can work together to implement regional initiatives to help protect 56,600 miles of coastline stretching from Alaska to California, including the Hawaiian Islands.

The meeting is taking place on Thursday, Sept. 28 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., in the Coral Ballroom at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. The event is open to the public and attendance is free of charge. To register, go to: https://2017taskforceannualmeeting.eventbrite.com.

At this year’s event, the six Task Force jurisdictions will provide updates on their spillresponse programs, projects and initiatives. Guest presentations and panel discussions will highlight pollution prevention measures in the cruise ship industry, issue involving the clean-up of heavy oils, and the challenges with managing data during a spill.

The Task Force was authorized by a Memorandum of Cooperation in 1989 by Governors of Alaska, Oregon, Washington and California, and the Premier of British Columbia following the Exxon Valdez and Nastucca oil spills. These events highlight the common concerns regarding oil spill risks shared by West Coast states and provinces, and the need for cooperation across shared borders.

The Task Force is committed to improving, preventing, preparing for and responding to oil spills. It collects and shares data on spills, coordinates spill prevention projects, and promotes regulatory safeguards.

The Task Force members include: 

  • Thomas M. Cullen Jr., Administrator, Office of Spill Prevention and Response, California Department of Fish and Wildlife 
  • Keith Kawaoka, Deputy Director of Environmental Health, Hawaii Department of Health 
  • Larry Hartig, Commissioner, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation 
  • Dale Jensen, Spills Program Manager, Washington Department of Ecology
  • Richard Whitman, Director, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality 
  • Mark Zacharias, Deputy Minister, British Columbia Ministry of the Environment

For more information visit: http://oilspilltaskforce.org/task-force-events/annual-meeting/

EPA Penalizes Kapolei Company for Failing to Close Illegal Cesspool

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a settlement with Fileminders of Hawaii, LLC, requiring the company to close a large-capacity cesspool at its Kapolei facility on Oahu.  Cesspools can contaminate groundwater, and large-capacity cesspools have been banned since 2005.

In May 2016, EPA inspected the Fileminders facility, a records storage company in the Campbell Industrial Park, and found one large-capacity cesspool (LCC) in use. EPA regulations under the Safe Drinking Water Act required closure of all existing LCCs by April 5, 2005.

Fileminders, the operator of the cesspool, and Hawaii MMGD, the company’s owner, will pay a civil penalty of $122,000 for violating the Safe Drinking Water Act. In June, the cesspool was closed and the company installed an individual wastewater system.

“Closing large cesspools is essential to protecting Hawaii’s drinking water and coastal resources,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “EPA’s large-capacity cesspool inspection and enforcement efforts will continue until illegal cesspools are a distant memory.”

An LCC is a cesspool that serves multiple residential dwellings or a commercial facility with the capacity to serve 20 or more people per day. Cesspools collect and discharge waterborne pollutants like untreated raw sewage into the ground, where disease-causing pathogens can contaminate groundwater, streams and the ocean.

Cesspools are used more widely in Hawaii than in any other state, despite the fact that 95 percent of all drinking water in Hawaii comes from groundwater sources. over 3,400 large-capacity cesspools have been closed statewide, many through voluntary compliance.

For more information and to submit comments on this specific agreement, visit

https://www.epa.gov/uic/hawaii-cesspools-administrative-orders#oahu

For more information on the large-capacity cesspool ban and definition of a large-capacity cesspool, visit http://www.epa.gov/uic/cesspools-hawaii

EPA Requires Big Island Hardware Stores to Close Large Cesspools – Fined $134,000

Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced an agreement with the owner of two Big Island hardware stores and a commercial property to close four large-capacity cesspools (LCCs) at properties in Naalehu, Kamuela and Hilo, Hawaii.  Cesspools can contaminate groundwater, and LCCs have been banned since 2005.“Replacing these harmful cesspools with modern wastewater treatment systems will protect the Big Island’s drinking water and coastal resources,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Our goal is to protect Hawaii’s waters by closing all large-capacity cesspools.”

In 2016, EPA found three cesspools during inspections at the Naalehu and Kamuela Housemart Ace Hardware stores, owned by Maui Varieties Investments, Inc. (MVI). MVI also voluntarily disclosed a fourth LCC at a separate commercial property that houses a farm supply store in Hilo.

MVI will be closing the two LCCs serving the Naalehu store and neighboring buildings and replacing the LCCs with wastewater treatment systems approved by the Hawaii Department of Health. The company will be closing the LCC at the Kamuela store and connecting it to a private sewer system. Finally, MVI will close the LCC at the commercial property in Hilo and connect it to the County of Hawaii’s sewer system.  MVI will also pay a civil penalty of $134,000.

An LCC is a cesspool that serves multiple residential dwellings or a commercial facility with the capacity to serve 20 or more people per day. Cesspools collect and discharge waterborne pollutants like untreated raw sewage into the ground, where disease-causing pathogens can contaminate groundwater, streams and the ocean. LCCs were banned under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act in April 2005.

Cesspools are used more widely in Hawaii than in any other state, despite the fact that 95 percent of all drinking water in Hawaii comes from groundwater sources. Since the federal LCC ban took effect in 2005, over 3,400 large-capacity cesspools have been closed state-wide, many through voluntary compliance.

For more information and to submit comments on this specific agreement, visit https://www.epa.gov/uic/hawaii-cesspools-administrative-orders#hawaii

For more information on the large-capacity cesspool ban and definition of a large-capacity cesspool, please visit http://www.epa.gov/uic/cesspools-hawaii

Hawaii County Expresses Heartfelt Mahalo to Old Airport Clean-Up Volunteers

The County of Hawai’i wishes to express heartfelt thanks to all of the many volunteers and sponsors for their kokua during the massive two-day clean-up of Old Kona Airport Park, to make this facility a nicer place to play for our keiki.We thank: Youth With A Mission, Hawai’i Community Correctional Center, Friends for Fitness, Debbie and John Mabuni, Council Members Karen Eoff, Maile David and Dru Kanuha, Michael Ikeda, Alexander Hill, Clint Santos, George Correa, Joey Valenzuela, Chase De Mattos, Christopher Mae, Matthew Tailon, Paul Ebel, George Kanakua, Kathleen Lacerdo, Bina Torres, Derwin Nunes III, Irene Kauwe, Gaudens Girbisi, Sr., Cynthia Hove, Barbara Krekeler, Margie Wolfe, Cristina Garcia, Kamrirg Chaz, Carlito Yadau, Noah Nehls, Jonah Nehls, Trystan Nehls-Nachor, Skibs Nehls, Katie McKillop, Celine Kitaoka, Yamile Marquez, Irie Charity, Melvin Ho‘omauawau, Lani Ho‘omauawau, Elizabeth Elkjer and Hannah Rose (Echo City Knockouts Roller Derby), Patricia Ikeda, Christopher Au, Mark Jensen, Kalae Mills, Tania Mills, Maia Mills, Isaiah Easley, Taylor Easley, Betty DeRoy, Scott Forrington, and Billy Doaner, along with numerous spontaneous anonymous volunteers who did not sign in officially.

We also thank the following volunteers from Queen Lili‘uokalani Trust:  Kehau Harrison, Ashley Flynn, Pelena Keeling, Lyle Gomes, Michael Shibata, Richard Teanio, Jr., Kalena Spinola, BJ Ells, Justin Murata, Bernaldo Quanan, Morgan Leleiwi, and Mana Purdy.

We thank the following businesses and non-profit organizations:  Sustainable Island Products, Davis Tile & Marble, Courtyard Marriott-King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, Costco Wholesale, KTA Super Stores, Foodland, Pine Tree Café, Walmart, McDonalds, Starbucks, Royal Kona Resort, Hawai’i Sober Living & Recovery Center, Hawai’i Land Care, Tante and Aracelli Urban Foundation, Umeke’s Fish Market Bar & Grill, Chubby’s at the Avalux Café, Safeway, 808 Building Maintenance, Signature Flight Support – BBA Aviation, Bongo Ben’s Island Café, Adobo on Board, and Kohanaiki.

The Department of Parks and Recreation is grateful for the assistance and support of the Hawai’i Police Department, the Department of Public Works, the Department of Environmental Management, the Civil Defense Agency, the Fire Department, the Office of the Corporation Counsel, the Department of Housing and Community Development, and the Office of the Mayor.

Big Island’s Do-It-Yourself Used Motor Oil Collection Sites

Used motor oil contains toxic substances that can contaminate our land, ground water and ocean. The County of Hawai‘i operates a program for the do-it-yourself person who changes their own non-business vehicle’s motor oil.

Do-it-yourself used motor oil collection sites at the following seven locations are open and accepting used motor oil:

  • Lex Brodie’s Tire & Service Center in Hilo
  • Pa‘auilo Village Service
  • Kealakehe High School Auto Shop
  • O’Reilly Auto Parts in Kona
  • CarTow Kohala in Hāwī
  • RPM Kawaihae
  • South Point U-Cart in Ocean View

Unfortunately, at this time, empty motor oil containers are not recyclable at a global level. Research is being conducted to study how to remove oil from plastic, but is still in development. To avoid contamination of other recyclable plastic, empty motor oil containers need to be placed in regular disposal.

For more information on hours of operation, acceptability conditions, and contact information, please visit our Used Motor Oil page at www.hawaiizerowaste.org/recycle/motor-oil. 

Community Clean-Up at Old Airport Park in Kona – No Camping Allowed

The County of Hawai’i will enforce a no-camping policy at the Old Airport Park in Kona from Wednesday, August 2, 2017, and all belongings and housing structures in the park must be removed by that date.  This is aimed at improving this facility as a community park.

Homeless people camping at the park are being instructed to leave, and a limited number of spaces at homeless shelters are available to receive them.

In the meantime, outreach workers from HOPE Services, Veterans Outreach, the West Hawai’i Health Clinic, Access Capabilities, County Parks and Recreation, Office of Housing and Community Development, the Mayor’s Office (Kona), and faith-based volunteers, have been reaching out to the people living in the park.

HOPE Services is coordinating existing housing inventory, and available housing options are being offered to the most vulnerable homeless people first, i.e., families, the elderly, chronically homeless, as well as those with substance abuse or mental health issues.

“HOPE Services is doing their very best to house those who qualify in the short time we have before August 2,” said Assistant Housing Administrator Lance Niimi, who asked that the public notify his office if other housing options may be made immediately available for the homeless. “Every bed space helps.”

“This is a comprehensive effort involving the community, State and County government, service organizations, businesses and volunteers, to make this a better place,” Niimi said.

The Mayor’s Office is currently in negotiations for a possible alternative site for the homeless in the vicinity, which could become available by the end of the year.

The Police Department will be monitoring to ensure that campers do not return to the park. The enforcement takes place as the Department of Parks and Recreation gears up for clean-up efforts on Wednesday, August 9 and Thursday, August 10, 2017.

 

Nearly Eleven Tons of Rubbish Removed From Kalalau in 2017

Since the first of this year, DLNR Division of State Parks maintenance staff on Kaua‘i have gathered, bagged, and airlifted 10.92 tons of rubbish from the Kalalau section of the Napali Coast State Wilderness Park.  At least monthly, regular clean-up operations, have resulted in between 520 pounds and 2380 pounds of trash and waste being airlifted by helicopter out of the area. During some months maintenance crews conducted two-to-four operations.

“Clearly this huge quantity of rubbish was not carried in on the backs of people who obtained permits to hike the 11 miles into Kalalau,” said State Parks Administrator Curt Cottrell. “Over the past two years we’ve made significant progress in dismantling illegal, long-term camps both at Kalalau beach and in more remote locations in Kalalau Valley. In collaboration with the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE), we’ve made it very clear that we have zero tolerance for illegal activity in our state’s largest and most remote state park,” Cottrell added.

In June alone, during five clean-up days, helicopters sling-loaded nearly seven thousand pounds of trash and waste out of Kalalau. Human waste is shoveled into barrels out of composting toilets in the designated camping area fronting Kalalau beach and flown out for proper treatment and disposal.  State Park staff continues to be concerned about environmental degradation and health risks associated with people defecating in the forest and along the streams in the park and the associated impacts to archeological sites from being modified for camping uses.   “These are the critical reasons diligent attention must be directed to eliminating illegal activity at Kalalau and elsewhere in the Napali Coast State Wilderness Park.  As an example, by enforcing the limit of campers to the allowed 60 people each night, the composters should function as designed and our maintenance crew can turn their priorities to other site enhancements,” Cottrell said.

Regular monthly maintenance operations are conducted not only to clean-up the rubbish left at illegal camps and to remove human waste, but also to trim weeds, maintain signs and camp trails, and restock comfort stations.  The Division of State Parks plans to renew its request to the Hawai‘i State Legislature next year for permanent staffing at Kalalau to ensure higher quality of maintenance of the park’s wilderness character, protect cultural sites and to provide visitor information, as well as to maintain communications capability in case of emergencies and to report illegal activities to enforcement.

Hawaii Department of Health Fines Aloha Petroleum, LTD., $200,000 for Fuel Tank Violations

The Hawaii State Department of Health Underground Storage Tank (UST) Section has issued a Notice of Violation against Aloha Petroleum, Ltd., the registered owner and operator of four 10,000-gallon underground storage tanks at its fuel service station located at 3203 Monsarrat Avenue in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Aloha Petroleum has been cited for failing to notify the department of a suspected fuel release within 24 hours of discovery, failing to conduct a timely investigation of the release, and deficiencies related to its release detection monitoring and record keeping system.

Aloha Petroleum has been assessed a $200,000 penalty and may request a hearing to contest the allegations and order.

DOH regulates USTs that hold petroleum or hazardous substances. Failure on the part of UST owners and operators to timely report suspected releases, unusual operating conditions and the loss of product may result in increased clean-up costs for petroleum contamination to the environment.

Costco Violates Hawaii HI-5 Rule – Ordered to Pay Fine

Costco Wholesale Corporation has paid a fine of $4,799.40 for violating State deposit beverage container (DBC) requirements.On April 24, 2017, the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) sent a Request for Information letter to Costco requesting that the company submit sales information for auditing purposes. Despite more than 15 emails and telephone calls, Costco remained non-cooperative in providing the requested information in violation of the DBC Program audit authority specified in Hawaii Revised Statutes §342G-121.

DOH issued a Notice of Violation and Order (NOVO) against the company on June 13, 2017. Costco paid an administrative fine of $4,799.40 on July 12, 2017. Costco also provided the requested sales information and submitted a letter summarizing its procedure for generating sales data, satisfying the compliance requirements set forth in the NOVO.

Darren Park, manager of the department’s Deposit Beverage Container Program, said it is important for wholesalers and distributors to comply with requests from the DOH which administers the “HI-5” recycling program.

“The program relies on self-reported data, so the department conducts audits and inspection activities to ensure accuracy and completeness of information submitted, which helps to prevent fraud and financial harm to the State,” Park said. “Overall, the recycling program reduces litter at our parks and beaches and has kept billions of bottles and cans out of our garbage.”

More than 600 million deposit beverage containers are recycled annually at certified redemption centers that otherwise would be landfilled or end up littering Hawaii’s environment. Since 2005, Hawaii’s residents have recycled nearly 8 billion deposit beverage containers through the DBC Program.

Old Airport Park in Kona to be Closed August 9 and 10 for Clean-up

The Department of Parks and Recreation will be closing the Old Airport Park in Kona from 7:00 am on Wednesday, August 9 and Thursday, August 10, 2017, to facilitate community clean-up efforts.Anyone camping at or using the park is being asked to leave prior to and during the park closure and clean up. Under Hawai‘i County Code (Section 15-39), camping in the park will not be allowed after the park clean up.

“Social service agencies, County Office of Housing and Community Development, Parks and Recreation personnel, and Hawai‘i Police Department are actively making site visits, and notifying people camping at the park about transitional/emergency shelters around the island,” said Charmaine Kamaka, Director of Parks and Recreation.

Various County departments, community groups, organizations and individuals are assisting with the clean-up event, and Parks and Recreation is seeking volunteers to help with clean-up efforts.

If you would like to volunteer or for more information please contact Charmaine Kamaka at 961-8561 or Charmaine.Kamaka@hawaiicounty.gov.

Sewer Spill in Vicinity of Wailuku River, Kaipalaoa Landing

Location of Discharge: Vicinity of Wailuku River and Kaipalaoa Landing, Hilo, Hawai‘i

Description:  Discharge of untreated wastewater at shoreline in the vicinity of Wailuku River and Kaipalaoa Landing in Hilo, Hawai‘i

Cause of Discharge:  The cause of the discharge was due to wastewater entering the Storm Drain system from a broken sewer lateral at the corner of Waiānuenue Avenue and Kino‘ole St.

Remedial Action Taken:  While the discharge into the Storm Drai n system was small and estimated to be in the order of one (1) gallon per hour; the shoreline area in the vicinity of the Storm Drain discharge has been posted with Warning Signs in accordance with State of Hawai‘i, Department of Health requirements and the sign-posted area is closed to recreational activity until further notice.

The Wastewater Division is testing shoreline waters in the vicinity of the discharge.  Testing will continue until authorization is obtained from the State of Hawai`i, Department of Health to remove Warning Signs posted in the area.  The County is currently in the process of coordinating repair of the broken sewer lateral.

Napali Coast State Wilderness Park Showing Recovery and Improvement – Additional Arrests Made

A three day operation last week in the Kalalau section of Kauai’s Napali Coast State Wilderness Park resulted in additional arrests and the dismantling of large, illegal camps in Kalalau Valley.

DLNR Chair Suzanne Case commented, “Our Divisions of State Parks and Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) are continuing to work together to restore lawfulness to Napali and address the natural and cultural resources damage created by long-term squatters and their illegal camps. These sustained efforts began more than two years ago and are beginning to pay off. Every week we receive correspondence from people who’ve legally hiked into Kalalau and are commenting on how clean the area is and how the number of illegal camps and campers are greatly diminished.”

State Parks Assistant Administrator Alan Carpenter and archaeologist Sean Newsome conducted a rapid reconnaissance of cultural sites in Kalalau Valley a week before the combined clean-up and enforcement operation. Carpenter said, “In my 25 years of visiting Kalalau this is the cleanest I’ve ever seen it in terms of rubbish and illegal campers. The degradation to cultural sites is at an all-time high, however, because those impacts are cumulative, representing decades of abuse. Reversing those impacts and restoring sites is a future goal, requiring a combination of documentation, compliance, staffing and community stewardship. Clearly there is additional work to do to protect the important cultural resources and natural resources in this pristine area, but I’m heartened that the keen focus on Kalalau is definitely showing an improved experience for permitted visitors, who are generally not responsible for the degradation of Napali resources.”

A sure sign of improvement and the fact that the no-tolerance for illegal activity “word” is getting out, several DOCARE Officers report that in every contact they made along the trail, hikers had the required state permit. It is required for travel beyond the two-mile marker at Hanakapiai Stream and allows camping only designated camping areas such as the one at Kalalau Beach. During previous enforcement visits to the wilderness park, officers arrested dozens of people for failing to produce a permit.

DOCARE officers arrested six people for closed-area violations. They also eradicated eight young marijuana plants from an abandoned campsite. Squatters have also established elaborate gardens where they’re growing bananas, papaya, taro and other fruits. Officers provided support for a State Parks maintenance team, which removed 15 large illegal camps, plus additional smaller ones and gear stashes. Two and a half tons of rubbish was airlifted by a helicopter in 15 sling loads. Seven State Parks staff and between six and twelve DOCARE officers were involved daily during last week’s operation.

“These combined operations are logistically complex, costly and deplete operational funds that could be applied at other state parks,” said State Parks Administrator Curt Cottrell. “A critical method to enhance public safety, protect significant historic features and to ultimately insure the quality of the wildness experience is to create permanent staff with specific equipment for Kalalau. Dedicated staff will have communication access to deter the return of illegal camping and insure authorized limits, helping eliminate the overuse of composting toilets, provide additional campsite and trail maintenance service on a daily basis, direct campers to the authorized camping areas, further inform campers about on site safety issues and the sensitivity and history of cultural sites, and support both hikers and kayakers who may sustain injuries in this remote and unique wilderness destination,” Cottrell added.

The Division of State Parks is expected to renew its request to the 2018 Hawai‘i State Legislature to provide funding for full-time staff to support the management of Hawai‘i’s largest and most remote state park.

Pāhoa HI-5 Certified Redemption Center Closing

Effective July 1, 2017, the Pāhoa HI-5 Certified Redemption Center located at the Pāhoa Recycling & Transfer Station will be closed until further notice.

The transfer station will remain open.

The close proximity of another certified redemption center, about a half-mile away,  resulted in an unexpected increase in cost to continue services when the Pāhoa site’s operations contract was re-bid.

Due to this increase in cost and the close proximity of the alternate center, the site will be closed for the time being; the Department plans to re-bid the site, and possibly reopen it at a later date.

Please see the schedule below for the alternate sites and operating hours:

  • Kea‘au, Atlas Recycling Wednesday, Friday, 8:00am – 3:30pm
  • Kea`au Recycling & Transfer Station Saturday, Sunday, 16-921 Kea‘au-Pahoa Road
  • Pāhoa, Business Services Hawai`i Daily 8:00am – 3:30pm, Pahoa Village Road (Across from the Post Office)

The Department of Environmental Management would like to thank the public for their cooperation and understanding as we work with our contractors to make the HI-5 program as convenient as possible.

We apologize for any inconvenience caused by the closure of the Pāhoa HI-5 Certified Redemption Center.

For more information and a complete list of Certified Redemption Centers in Hawai`i County please visit www.hawaiizerowaste.org, or contact Craig Kawaguchi at ckawaguchi@hawaiicounty.gov

EPA Requires County of Hawaii to Close Large Cesspools – Reaches Agreement with Aloha Island Mart

Agency also reaches agreement with Aloha Island Mart in Captain Cook over LCC violation

Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced an agreement with the County of Hawaii to close seven large capacity cesspools (LCCs) that serve the Pahala and Naalehu communities. The County will replace the cesspools with wastewater treatment systems approved by the Hawaii Department of Health.

In a separate action, EPA reached an agreement with Aloha Petroleum, Ltd. requiring the company to pay a civil penalty of $57,500 for its operation of an LCC at its Aloha Island Mart convenience store and gas station in Captain Cook on the Big Island. EPA found that Aloha Island Mart operated an illegal LCC until 2014. Aloha Petroleum has since closed the non-compliant cesspool and replaced it with an approved wastewater system.

Click to read the consent agreement

An LCC is a cesspool that serves multiple residential dwellings or a commercial facility with the capacity to serve 20 or more people per day. Cesspools collect and discharge waterborne pollutants like untreated raw sewage into the ground, where disease-causing pathogens can contaminate groundwater, streams and the ocean. LCCs were banned under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act in April 2005.

The agreement with the County of Hawaii requires the closure of two LCCs serving the Pahala community, three LCCs serving the Naalehu community, and two LCCs serving the Pahala Elderly Apartments. Combined, the seven cesspools serve about 280 households.

“EPA and the County of Hawaii are taking important steps to close these banned cesspools and replace them with modern wastewater treatment systems,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “These actions will protect Hawaii’s drinking water and coastal resources, as we seek to modernize Big Island water infrastructure.”

In the Pahala and Naalehu communities, the County has developed closure and replacement plans for the cesspools. Newly-constructed secondary wastewater treatment facilities and updated collection systems will come online in 2021 for Pahala and in 2022 for Naalehu. Cesspools serving the Pahala Elderly Apartments will be closed by September 2018 and replaced with septic systems. The agreement also includes specific reporting requirements and allows for stipulated penalties should the county fail to meet agreed-upon deadlines.

Construction of the new treatment and disposal facilities will be financed in part with federal grants and low-interest loans from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund loan program. Under the agreement, an additional 95 properties in the Pahala and Naalehu communities not currently served by the LCCs will also be connected to the new county sewer systems.

Cesspools are used more widely in Hawaii than in any other state, despite the fact that 95 percent of all drinking water in Hawaii comes from groundwater sources. over 3,000 large capacity cesspools have been closed state-wide, many through voluntary compliance.

For more information on this specific agreement visit: https://www.epa.gov/uic/hawaii-cesspools-administrative-orders#hawaii

For more information on the large capacity cesspool ban and definition of a large capacity cesspool, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/uic/cesspools-hawaii

14,105 Pounds of Donations Saved From Trash During Student Housing Move-Out

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Student Housing Services managed to gather more than 14,105 pounds of items for donation during the weekend of residence hall move-out at the end of spring 2017 semester.

Nicole Chatterson (right) and Eunice Yamada led student efforts to divert 45 mini-fridges from the landfill.

Students and staff juggled commencement and the end-of-semester move out rush to donate 9,554 pounds of clothes and 4,551 pounds of miscellaneous items to the Boys and Girls Club and the Kidney Foundation.

In addition to these items, the UH Office of Sustainability teamed up with the Surfrider UH Club to rescue 45 abandoned mini-fridges from the waste stream. These mini-fridges will be offered to incoming student residents in fall 2017.

“I never thought I’d be making the effort to recycling anything larger than plastic bottles until I realized refrigerators were being abandoned,” said Erika Peralta, Co-Chair of the Surfrider UH Club. “Not only did I consider the accumulation of waste, but I also thought about how we might help relieve some pressure on student budgets by facilitating the re-use of these mini-fridges.”

“While there is a lot of effort put into making move-out sustainable, it’s not yet a zero-waste system,” said David Akana, associate director of student housing services. “Residence hall dumpsters around this time of year are overflowing with quality, re-usable goods ranging from hydro-flasks, to fans, to kitchen utensils. We’re excited to partner with students to do even better with our waste diversion and reduction efforts next year.”

“Some of the waste reduction challenges faced in student housing, such as the need for outreach campaigns focused on waste minimization and system design, are experienced elsewhere on campus,” said Nicole Chatterson, UH Office of Sustainability student coordinator. “If we can pilot and refine effective systems with SHS, we will be better prepared to address systemic waste issues and move UH towards zero-waste practices.”

Hawaii Joins “We are Still In” Coalition in Support of Paris Climate Agreement

Following President Donald Trump’s announcement last week that the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, Hawaii Governor David Ige and Attorney General Doug Chin joined forces with governors, mayors, business leaders and universities across the country pledging to maintain their commitment to fighting climate change and abiding by the principles of the global agreement.

Attorney General Doug Chin

Attorney General Chin said, “I am proud to stand beside both Governor Ige and many of my fellow attorneys general as a signatory to the “We are Still In” Coalition. Climate change is of unique importance to our island state, and I will be working with my fellow attorneys general to find ways to act effectively, even when the federal government won’t.”

In addition to Attorney General Chin, other state attorneys general joining the coalition today include California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia.

President Trump announced on June 1 that the United States would break ranks with more than 190 countries and leave the historic global commitment that entered into force in November 2016. The signatories to the “We are Still In” coalition, today released the following statement:

“We, the undersigned mayors, governors, attorneys general, college and university leaders and businesses are joining forces for the first time to declare, that we will continue to support climate action to meet the Paris Agreement.

In December 2015 in Paris, world leaders signed the first global commitment to fight climate change. The landmark agreement succeeded where past attempts failed because it allowed each country to set its own emission reduction targets and adopt its own strategies for reaching them. In addition, nations – inspired by the actions of local and regional governments, along with businesses – came to recognize that fighting climate change brings significant economic and public health benefits. 

The Trump administration’s announcement undermines a key pillar in the fight against climate change and damages the world’s ability to avoid the most dangerous and costly effects of climate change. Importantly, it is also out of step with what is happening in the United States.

In the U.S., it is local and state governments, along with businesses, that are primarily responsible for the dramatic decrease in greenhouse gas emissions in recent years. Actions by each group will multiply and accelerate in the years ahead, no matter what policies Washington may adopt.

In the absence of leadership from Washington, states, cities, colleges and universities and businesses representing a sizeable percentage of the U.S. economy will pursue ambitious climate goals, working together to take forceful action and to ensure that the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing emissions.

It is imperative that the world know that in the U.S., the actors that will provide the leadership necessary to meet our Paris commitment are found in city halls, state capitals, colleges and universities and businesses. Together, we will remain actively engaged with the international community as part of the global effort to hold warming to well below 2°C and to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy that will benefit our security, prosperity, and health.”

The Paris Climate Agreement requires participating countries to limit global warming to well below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit from preindustrial levels and encourages them to pursue efforts to keep temperature increases to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. The “We Are Still In” coalition pledges to ensure that despite the country’s exit from the agreement the United States will continue to be a leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Maps of Cesspools on Hawaii Island and Hilo – 90,000 Banned Statewide By 2050

Last week the Environmental Protection Agency required the County of Hawaii to close 7 large cesspools here on the Big Island of Hawai.

Hawaii House Bill 1244 has passed and is headed to Governor Ige to sign into law.

Cesspools on the Island of Hawaii.

The bill as written would ban the currently 90,000 cesspools that are already here in Hawaii (50,000 of those on the Big Island alone) by the year 2050.

Cesspools in Hilo (I did not zoom into each TMK property… I just checked to make sure I was in the clear!)

Hawaii House Bill 1244:

According to the Hawaii Department of Health:

Cesspools are substandard systems.  They don’t treat wastewater, they merely dispose of it. Cesspools concentrate the wastewater in one location, often deep within the ground and in direct contact with groundwater, causing groundwater contamination.  This groundwater flows into drinking water wells, streams and the ocean, harming public health and the environment, including beaches and coral reefs.

 What are cesspools?

  • Cesspools are little more than holes in the ground that discharge raw, untreated human waste.
  • Cesspools can contaminate ground water, drinking water sources, streams and oceans with disease-causing pathogens, algae-causing nutrients, and other harmful substances.
  • Untreated wastewater from cesspools contains pathogens such as bacteria, protozoa and viruses that can cause gastroenteritis, Hepatitis A, conjunctivitis, leptospirosis, salmonellosis and cholera.

 How many cesspools do we have in Hawai`i?

  •  There are approximately 90,000 cesspools in the State, with nearly 50,000 located on the Big Island,  almost 14,000 on Kauai, over  12,000 on Maui, over 11,000 on Oahu and over 1,400 on Molokai.
  •  Hawai`i is the only state in the US that still allows construction of new cesspools.
  •  Approximately 800 new cesspools are approved for construction in Hawai`i each year.

How many cesspools pose a risk to our water resources and how do they impact our environment?

  •  There are 87,000 cesspools that pose a risk to our water resources.
  •  There are approximately 6,700 cesspools that are located within 200 feet of a perennial stream channel  throughout the State.  There  are approximately 31,000 cesspools that are located within the perennial  watersheds on the islands of Hawai`i, Kauai, Maui, and  Molokai.
  •  Cesspools in Hawai`i release approximately 55 million gallons of untreated sewage into the ground each  day.
  •  Cesspools in Hawai`i release as much as 23,700 pounds of nitrogen and nearly 6,000 pounds of  phosphorus into the ground each  day each day, which can stimulate undesirable algae growth, degrade  water quality, and impact coral reefs.

Click here to see if your property needs certification or is near a cesspool: Act 120 Eligibility Cesspool Finder

Japan Tsunami Gift Fund Supported Removal and Detection – How Was Hawaii’s $250,000 Spent?

After the devastating tsunami generated by the 9.0 earthquake that struck the coastal areas of Japan’s Tōhoku Region on March 11, 2011, the Japanese Ministry of the Environment estimated that 1.5 million tons of floating debris had been swept into the ocean. This unprecedented single pulse of marine debris drifted offshore and was eventually swept out to sea by oceanic currents to enter circulation in the North Pacific Ocean. This debris impacted western shores of the continental U.S., Canada, as well as Hawaii.

In 2013, the State of Hawaii received a portion of a $5 million diplomatic monetary gift offered to the United States by the Government of Japan. The gift was intended to help the affected U.S. states address Japan tsunami marine debris or “JTMD”. An initial distribution of $250,000 was made to each of the affected states: Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, and Hawaii. In Hawaii, the Department of Health (DOH) represented the State in a Memorandum of Agreement with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which had been designated as administrator of the JTMD Gift Fund. The Department of Land and Natural Resources was designated as the expending agency, so in November 2013 the funds were transferred from DOH to DLNR and subsequently used to support projects in three general areas:  removal, aquatic invasive species monitoring, and detection.

REMOVAL PROJECTS:  $91,712.66

DLNR staff routinely removes and disposes of marine debris.  When an item exceeds in-house capabilities, contracted services by qualified commercial entities are procured.

  • Contract for services: Removal & disposal of the side of a shipping container on Kauai  $3,875.51
  • Landfill fee for disposal of damaged JTMD vessel on Oahu $219.90
  • Contract for services: Removal of damaged JTMD vessel on Kauai $8,000.00
  • Contract for services: Removal & disposal of 20-ft diameter mooring buoy on Hawaii Island  $28,500.00
  • Purchase of a utility task vehicle for transporting heavy items out of areas inaccessible to larger vehicles and that would otherwise require access on foot    $12,321.79
  • Small equipment for removal of a JTMD boat by sea from a Maui beach site inaccessible to truck and trailer required for street transport  $1,438.22
  • Marine Debris Cleanup Project for a beach at Kanapou, Kahoolawe that included transporting staff and volunteers by boat, camping for four days, transporting the collected marine debris by helicopter to Maui for final disposal at the landfill, and bringing communications staff to Maui to document the activity  $24,716.12
  • Reimbursement for staff time for various JTMD removal activities during 2013-2015   $12,641.12

 AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES MONITORING PROJECTS:  $44,902.05

Marine debris can carry alien species hitchhikers attached to the debris and travel great distances via oceanic currents and wind. If successful at colonizing in new locations, some species have the potential to become invasive and disrupt local marine ecosystems. Researchers have identified over 70 non-native species associated with JTMD landing on Hawai‘i shorelines.  In response to the concern of establishment of non-native species via JTMD, monitoring was conducted to investigate JTMD biofouling species in 2015.  The first deployed a small team of biologists to do visual in-water surveys of nine landing sites on Kauai that were previously known to have been exposed to JTMD-transported alien species. The second project utilized advanced techniques in collaboration with other scientists monitoring JTMD landing sites in California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia.

  • AIS Monitoring Project on Kauai        $3,345.87
  • AIS Monitoring Project on Oahu         $41,556.18

DETECTION PROJECTS:  $69,165.46

DLNR conducted the first state-wide shoreline marine debris survey to census the number and type of marine debris and identify debris accumulation sites.  Aerial survey techniques and analysis were used to estimate the number and type of marine debris distributed throughout the main Hawaiian Islands In early 2015 DLNR biologists applied for a grant to conduct aerial surveys, and received partial funding ($65,000) from a collaborative international group of researchers, the North Pacific Marine Science Organization (“PICES”).  The JTMD Gift Fund was used to supplement the PICES grant, enabling complete coverage of all shorelines of the main Hawaiian Islands. In the fall of 2015, the high resolution aerial images were successfully collected, the first such effort in the State of Hawai‘i. Analysis of the images followed through a contract with the University of Hawai‘i.

  • Contract for Aerial Survey of Main Hawaiian Islands $37,994.76
  • Aerial Survey Post-Image Processing Contract         $31,170.70

MARINE DEBRIS COORDINATOR:  $44,219.83

Since marine debris response activities are conducted by various DLNR staff with many other duties, a dedicated marine debris coordinator position was created through a seven month contract with the University of Hawaii.  This position contributed support for all of the project areas as well as database management and outreach activities related to JTMD.

After the initial distribution of $250K to each of the five Pacific states, the remainder of the $5 million gift fund was held in reserve for specific subsequent requests. This diplomatic monetary gift was unprecedented in U.S. history. Managing it at national and state levels required adapting existing protocols for accounting and expenditures, and sometimes processing could be a bit challenging. In the end, however, the diplomatic gift helped fill a gap for the previously unfunded liability of marine debris and through the projects it supported, bring more public awareness to this international problem.

Hawaii Department of Health Cites Beverage Distributors for HI-5 Violations

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has issued Notices of Violation and Order against seven local beverage distributors for failure to comply with the State’s Deposit Beverage Container law.

Hawaii Revised Statutes §342G-105 requires beverage distributors to submit semi-annual or monthly reports and payments to DOH no later than the 15th calendar day of the month following the end of the payment period.

Delinquent semi-annual reporting companies cited:

  • Jugo Life, located at 2463 South King Street in Moiliili
  • Monsarrat Juice Co., dba Shaka Pressed Juice, at 3118 Monsarrat Avenue near Diamond Head
  • Dragononi Inc., dba Hawaiianola, at 89-1368 Mamalahoa Highway on Hawaii Island
  • Penta Water Company, LLC in Colton, California
  • Pressed Juicery Hawaii, LLC at 1450 Ala Moana Boulevard #1375

Delinquent monthly reporting companies cited:

  • Hawaiian Springs, LLC at 3375 Koapaka Street in Honolulu.
  • Eurpac Service, Inc. in Norwalk, Connecticut

Companies were assessed with administrative penalty fees ranging between $400 and $3,240. They were also provided an opportunity to request a hearing to contest the alleged facts and penalty. To date, Shaka Pressed Juice and Eurpac Sevice, Inc., have complied with the enforcement order. The companies submitted a corrective action plan and paid the penalty in full.

“Distributors are reminded to comply with all upcoming deadlines and requirements to avoid penalty fees,” states Deposit Beverage Container Program Manager Darren Park. “Late distributor payments and reports negatively affect the accurate calculations of redemptions rates and impact the DBC funds used to recycle redeemed containers.”