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Hawaii State Department of Health Cesspool Conversion Push

The Garden Island Newspaper just released an article by Jessica Else on the States Cesspool issue.

Back in 2014 I wrote a blog on this issue and why the State is pushing for the conversion of a cesspool to either a septic, anaerobic treatment (?), or connecting to a sewer.

Thank you Jessica & the Garden Island for keeping us updated on this topic!

The reason for the push is that cesspools are holes in the ground and sewage leaks into the ground where we get our drinking water and which also pollutes our oceans affecting our coral reef life for those cesspools located near the ocean/rivers.

There are certain places were cesspools are critically needed to be replaced specifically on Kauai in the Kapaa/Wailua area there are about 2,900 cesspools that need to be replaced, in Poipu/Koloa 3,600 and in Hanalei 270 cesspools. The state is giving a tax credit up to $10,000 during the next five years. It seems just for these on the high priority list when I looked briefly at their website: http://health.hawaii.gov/wastewater/home/taxcredit/

Connecting to sewer is the best option for waste in my opinion over cesspool and septic. For a few reasons.


  1. Healthiest – being the sewer plant treats the waste water.
  2. Practical – being connected to sewer you dont have to worry about how many times you can flush the toilet. Or it overflowing.
  3. Building- It wont restrict building on your property. A person can build up to their full zoning potential and not have to worry about being restricted to how many septics can fit on the property.


  1. There is a monthly fee. Most people can afford $40 a month versus having to upgrade or pump their system randomly at a much higher payment.

Not many Residential areas on Kauai are connected to the sewer . Some areas in Lihue like Hanamaulu, Molokoa, Puhi, Eleele Nani, Hanapepe Heights, Kekaha and Waimea. I’m surprised that most of Waimea to Kekaha is on sewer considering the United States postal service wont even go out that far. No homes in Eleele to Kekaha have mailboxes they all have a PO Box if they want to receive mail.

Subdivisions where homes are very close together and where homes are located near streams/ocean are where sewers are needed the most.

Kawaihau Sports Villas a condo complex in Kapaa are in the process of upgrading their cesspools to septic tanks. Unfortunately they could not install a sewer system and I am not sure why. I do know that they did preferred to be connected to sewer than to install multiple septic systems.

I’ve heard in the next 30 years that the Hawaii State Department of Health wants everyone to convert from cesspool to septic. This seems to be confirmed as the article published today Makaala Kaaumoana says “The Legislature’s 2016 goal of eliminating all cesspools statewide by 2050 is an indication of the state’s desire to move toward other ways of waste treatment.” Here is a post I wrote on 2014 about this topic.

The cost of a septic system is about $15,000 assuming a person wont be needing a special septic system due to being near water, having a small sized lot, etc. I have no clue as to the cost on connecting to sewer. Most of Kapaa town is connected to sewer although none of its subdivisions are.

In the Waialeale Estates subdivision a subdivision in Kapaa there are about 300 parcels. If all 300 converted to septic that would cost about $4.5 Million! Sure some have probably already converted, it is still a lot of money. Could the cost of connecting a sewer be more than $4.5 Million? Is there a way to connect to sewer being there are other properties blocking the way to Waialeale Estates subdivision. These are answers I’d like to find out.

Sydney Harbor Bridge as an Example:

A month ago I was in Sydney Australia we did the Sydney Harbor Bridge climb, which I highly recommend. At first it seems frightening then I realized I’ve done dangerous hikes with steep cliffs with no harness, steps, or hand-railing. There are a bunch of interesting facts on the bridge. This was the most interesting fact I heard:

While walking on the bridge our tour guide explained that the bridge was built in 1932 and the population of Sydney was about 1.2 million. The current population of Honolulu is approximately 400,000. Then she went on saying something like he made 8 lanes and although they didnt need so many lanes the man who was in charge made it large knowing that the population of Sydney would grow. Now their population is about 4 million!

This just got me thinking should we be thinking about the next 30 years 2050 or should we be forward thinking and start considering the next 80 years!

amazingly beautiful

Go during Sunset we did the 5pm tour

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