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Public meetings on cesspools set for Oahu, Big Island and Kauai

The Hawaii Department of Health is holding public informational meetings on cesspools and their impact on drinking water, starting next Tuesday in Waimanalo.

Five meetings are scheduled this month and in June regarding cesspools in Kapaa, Waimanalo, Ewa Beach, Hilo and Kailua-Kona, which were identified as priority areas in a report submitted by the state Health Department to the Hawaii legislature last December.

“We urge communities to participate in these important conversations to prevent cesspools from damaging our drinking waters, surface waters, beaches and coral habitats,” said Sina Pruder, acting environmental management division chief, in a news release. “As a community, we all need to act now and explore possible solutions together to protect our health and the environment.”

A total of 14 priority areas were identified statewide, where cesspools are beginning to affect drinking water, streams or beaches based on an analysis of existing cesspool data and water quality samples.

Areas categorized as “Priority 2” have cesspools with the potential to impact drinking water sources, and include Keaau, Hawaii island, with 9,300 cesspools, Kapaa/Wailua, Kauai, with 2,900 cesspools and Poipu/Koloa, Kauai, with 3,600 cesspools. Areas categorized as “Priority 3” have cesspools with the potential to impact sensitive waters, and include Hanalei on Kauai; Hilo Bay, coastal Kailua/Kona, Kapoho and Puako on Hawaii island; and Waimanalo, Ewa Beach, Diamond Head and Waialua on Oahu.

A total of 43,000 residential cesspools statewide are on a priority list for replacement.

The five meetings are scheduled as follows:

>> 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, May 29 at Waimanalo Elementary & Intermediate School Cafeteria, 41-1330 Kalanianaole Highway.

>> 6-8 p.m., Friday, June 29, West Hawaii Council Chambers, 74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Highway in Kailua-Kona.

>> 7 p.m. Thursday, July 12, Ewa Beach Public Library, 91-950 North Road.

>> 5-7 p.m. Monday, July 25, University of Hawaii at Hilo, UCB101, 200 West Kawili St.

>> 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 1, Kapaa Neighborhood Center, 4491 Kou St.

Questions about the public meetings or cesspools can be directed to the state Health Department Wastewater Branch at 586-4294.

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