comscore Pool owners are not allowed to dump water into the ocean
Kokua Line

Pool owners are not allowed to dump water into the ocean

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QUESTION: What are the rules or laws regarding swimming pool discharge? My neighbors in Kailua have drilled a hole in their privacy wall fronting the beach access and dump their swimming pool discharge onto the beach access. There has to be a health issue. By the way, this privacy wall appears to be well in excess of the building code height of 6 feet.

ANSWER: State law prohibits the discharge of water from a swimming pool into the ocean, under Chapter 342D, Part III "Water Pollution Control," of the Hawaii Revised Statutes.

If the discharge is above the high-water mark, it would not be considered a discharge to the water, said Michael Tsuji, environmental health specialist with the state Department of Health’s Clean Water Branch. "However, we would still issue a warning letter."

Anyone who observes the direct discharge of swimming pool effluent into state waters may contact the Clean Water Branch’s Enforcement Section at 586-4309. Provide the address, date and time the discharge was observed and, if possible, photographs.

If the pool water is discharged into the city’s streets and storm drain system, contact the city Department of Environmental Services at 768-3300.

There are three types of discharges from swimming pools, explained Environmental Services spokesman Markus Owens:

» Pool backwash water, which is not allowed into the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System, but is allowed into the wastewater system.
» Discharges to the storm sewer system when a pool is drained require an effluent discharge permit from Environmental Services, processed by the Storm Water Quality Branch. Most of these permits are issued to firms that specialize in draining pools.
» Incidental overflow from pool decks, which the city does not ordinarily regulate unless it becomes a nuisance. If it does become a nuisance, the city Department of Planning and Permitting would be the responding agency, Owens said.

You should contact city Planning and Permitting if you believe the wall is illegal.

You can report problems to the city at and they will be forwarded to the appropriate department.

Or e-mail; call 768-4381; or send a letter to Director of Customer Services, Mission Memorial Building, 550 S. King St., Honolulu HI 96813.

QUESTION: Is Honolulu City Lights putting out an ornament this year? I bought them for the last few years and can’t seem to find them this year.

ANSWER: The ornaments were being sold for $18 at all Oahu Macy’s stores; all Oahu First Hawaiian Bank branches; Borders Books at Ward Center; and at the Waikiki Trolley Stop at Duty Free Shoppers.

They can also be ordered online for $21 each ($24 each for international orders) at


To the driver of a Lexus who, at 9:35 p.m. one Sunday in November, zoomed through the red light at the intersection of Kamehameha Highway and Lumiaina Street going 80-plus mph. The light had just changed to green for vehicles on Lumiaina Street. If those vehicles had entered the intersection two seconds earlier, there might have been a massacre of many lives, including ours. We certainly hope no one was injured on your way to wherever you were headed. We have never observed such irresponsibility in driving. — Shaken Motorist

Write to "Kokua Line" at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or e-mail


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