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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Hearings set for rules banning new cesspools

By Hugh Clark
Advertiser Big Island Bureau

HILO, Hawai'i — A statewide ban on new residential cesspools could take effect within six months under new state health wastewater rules, which will be discussed at a hearing today in Hilo.

Information sessions were held earlier in Honolulu and in Kona and others are scheduled for Moloka'i, Kaua'i and Maui, but the biggest impact is anticipated in Puna and Ka'u on the Big Island, where there are thousands of rural lots and no sewer lines.

Sessions are scheduled 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. today at the East Hawai'i Environmental Services Building on Kamehameha Avenue.

The information sessions, according to a wastewater official, are targeted at engineers and builders rather than individual lot holders.

Public hearings on the new rules will be held in December, said Dennis Tulang, program manager for wastewater.

The rules would shut down new cesspools anywhere, even in rural areas, but health officials stressed that existing cesspools will be allowed to continue.

The rules would force future home builders to establish a septic system that would cost $3,000 and more, depending on soil conditions. The tanks, buried to a depth of about three feet, usually cost $3,000.

Carl Spencer, president of the 580-member Hawai'i Island Board of Realtors, said there is a mix of interest and resignation over the pending rules. He said the greater impact will be on Puna and K'au property owners whose districts combined are three times larger than O'ahu.

Other information hearings on the rules are scheduled for 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Friday at the Kauanakakai Civic Center on Moloka'i, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesday at Kaua'i District Health Office, Lihu'e, and 12:30 p.m. Nov. 13 at Maui District health Office in Kahului.