Sites selected for wastewater treatment plants - Water and Waste Water Jobs Water and Waste Water Jobs: News Details

Sites selected for wastewater treatment plants


HAWAII -- The county hired a consultant and selected properties for two new wastewater treatment plants as it works toward complying with a federal consent order requiring the closure of gang cesspools in Ka‘u. Pacific Legacy conducted archaeological field inspections of an 8.5-acre property in Naalehu and a 42.5-acre property in Pahala, Environmental Management Director Bill Kucharski said in an update Wednesday to the county Environmental Management Commission. The county is trying to meet deadlines in a consent order with the Environmental Protection Agency, which charged the county with violating requirements of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act in 2005. A prior consent order required the closure by 2015, but the county missed the deadline, Kucharski said Thursday. Officials had evaluated 13 properties without finding an appropriate site accepted by the community, he said. “We’ve been working very closely with EPA,” Kucharski said. “We’ve listened to the issues brought to us by the community and we’ve been responsive.” An archaeological survey and consultation with the State Historic Preservation Division is expected as a next step for the properties. The consultant, Brown and Caldwell, will perform environmental assessments of the selected locations. The county seeks to replace two large-capacity cesspools serving approximately 109 private residences in Pahala, three large-capacity cesspools serving approximately 163 private residences in Naalehu and two large-capacity cesspools serving the Pahala Elderly Apartments. If all goes as planned, the work on all the projects will be completed by the end of 2022. The Naalehu project is estimated at $14 million. Jerry Warren is a Naalehu resident who’s lobbied for years — including refusing to pay his sewer bills — for the county to fix a system he says is connected with sewage leaks near his property. He finds the price tag ironic. “The price of the project is more than the value of the 163 houses and land,” Warren said. The total construction cost of the Pahala wastewater treatment and disposal system is estimated at $7.2 million, with an additional $1.8 million for consultant services to perform planning, land acquisition, design services and services during construction. The projects are expected to be constructed with clean water state revolving funds and a federal EPA grant. Closure of the large capacity cesspools as mandated by EPA will occur once the treatment and disposal system is constructed and properties are connected to the new collection system. The Pahala Elderly Housing Apartments project will cost approximately $300,000, including consultant fees. Two gang cesspools will be replaced with two septic tanks, with work to include installation of an absorption system under the parking lot and repaving of the existing parking lot. Public comments are being accepted through Tuesday. The public also will get a chance to comment during the environmental assessment process. Email Nancy Cook Lauer at ———————- Contact: EPA Region IX Enforcement Division, Jelani Shareem (, Enforcement Officer U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region IX 75 Hawthorne St. (ENF-3-3) San Francisco, CA 94105; 415-972-3095. On the web:

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