Upcountry a priority area for cesspool upgrades
Upcountry is one of 14 top priority areas in the state where cesspool upgrades are critically needed due to “significant risk” of drinking water and environmental contamination, a state Department of Health report to the state Legislature said.
“The report findings are troubling and show wastewater from cesspools is beginning to impact drinking water in some parts of Upcountry Maui,” said Dr. Virginia Pressler, the state health director.
There are five public drinking water wells in the area that are impacted by the cesspools, and there are three new drinking water wells in development, the report said.
This means that cesspools in these areas contribute to documented impacts to drinking water or human health and appear to impact sensitive streams or coastal waters.
Hawaii has more cesspools than any other state.
Prior to the ban, there were approximately 800 new cesspools per year.
The rules also provided a temporary income tax credit for the cost of upgrading or converting a qualified cesspool to a septic tank system or an aerobic treatment system or connecting to a sewer system.
A taxpayer may apply for a tax credit of up to $10,000 for cesspools upgraded to a sewer or septic system during the next five years.
The program is limited to a total of $5 million, or about 500 cesspool upgrades per year.
Under the law, owners of cesspools located within 500 feet of the ocean, streams or marsh areas or near drinking water sources can qualify for the tax credit.