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Changes to Cesspools and Wastewater Systems


There are changes to rules about cesspools and wastewater systems taking place, and the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) is soliciting public comments and holding meetings around the state, including Molokai.

Proposed changes include prohibiting the installation of new cesspools and requiring connections or upgrades of existing cesspools to septic systems within 180 days after sale of property. This is a great reminder that homeowners with septic tanks should schedule a septic tank pumping service every three years or so. Those who have their homes connected to the municipal sewer system are also encouraged to have their sewer lines checked and repaired with the help of a sewer line repair contractor. If after their evaluation they determine that you are in fact in need of sewer line repair, they will be able to assist you whenever it would work best for you. This is a great way to prevent other more serious issues, repairs, and overhauls from becoming an unavoidable circumstance.

There are roughly 90,000 cesspools statewide in Hawaii, with nearly 50,000 located on Hawaii Island, almost 14,000 on Kauai, more than 12,000 on Maui, more than 11,000 on Oahu, and more than 1,400 on Molokai. The untreated wastewater from cesspools can contaminate ground water, drinking water sources, streams and oceans with disease-causing pathogens, algae-causing nutrients, and other harmful substances. It is estimated that cesspools in Hawaii release as much as 23,700 pounds of nitrogen and nearly 6,000 pounds of phosphorus into the ground each day which can degrade water quality, stimulate undesirable algae growth, and impact our coral reefs.



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