The U.S. Department of Agriculture is awarding nearly $3 million in funding to a community association for a subdivision in Puna to improve its community drinking water system.
U.S. Sens. Mazie K. Hirono and Brian Schatz and U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard made the announcement to the Hawaiian Shores Community Association in a news release Friday. The association, made up of nearly 1,300 residential lots, provides potable water and wastewater services to about 445 homes.
“Rural communities in Hawaii face unique challenges in maintaining and updating aging water infrastructure,” Hirono said. “This federal investment will help HSCA make needed improvements to their community drinking water system and ensure that Puna residents have access to clean, affordable drinking water.”
As part of the federal funding announcement, USDA approved a $419,320 grant and a $513,000 long-term loan. In addition, USDA will provide HSCA with $1.9 million in federal assistance to replace an existing storage tank, booster pump, piping for fire flow and other needed upgrades.
Empty Hilo house catches on fire
Hawaii County firefighters doused a Hilo house fire Thursday morning that caused an estimated $100,000 in damage.
A neighbor taking a morning walk saw smoke coming from the Kaulana Street house and called 911.
The first alarm was at 5:57 a.m. When firefighters arrived at 6:02 a.m., they found flames and smoke coming from the window of a home office in the three-bedroom, 2,000-square-foot house.
No one was at home at the time of the fire.
Seventeen firefighters responded to the blaze.
Fire officials said the wood-frame house, valued at $350,000, received an estimated $100,000 in damage. The cause remains under investigation.