Cesspools could soon impact your drinking water, DOH says

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Hawaii’s clean drinking and recreational waters could soon be impacted by aging cesspools, a new Department of Health report says.
According to the DOH, Hawaii has more cesspools than any other state, about 88,000.
Nearly half of those are located in areas that require urgent action.
“The report findings are troubling and show wastewater from cesspools is beginning to impact drinking water in some parts of upcountry Maui,” Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler said.
“The water in these areas is still safe to drink, with no evidence of bacterial contamination; however, there are early warning signs that tell us we must act now to protect the future of our drinking water and the environment.” The DOH says cesspools allow untreated wastewater — about 53 million gallons a day — to infiltrate Hawaii’s groundwater supply, increasing the risk for the spread of diseases and contamination.
The DOH also says Hawaii gets over 90 percent of its drinking water from groundwater.
“All cesspools pose a serious threat to our natural environment, and the 14 priority areas are our greatest concern as we are seeing the start of potential impacts to Hawaii’s shoreline and drinking water resources,” Keith Kawaoka, DOH deputy director of the Environmental Health Administration said.
The priority areas focused in the report include Upcountry Maui; Kahaluu, Diamond Head, Waimanalo, Waialua and Ewa on Oahu; Kapoho, Keaau, Puako, Hilo Bay and Kailua/Kona coastal areas on Hawaii Island; and Kapaa/Wailua, Poipu/Koloa and Hanalei Bay on Kauai.
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