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Mayor Mufi Hannemann will hold two community meetings to discuss the City’s wastewater treatment system and the City’s priorities in managing Oahu’s sewage.  The first meeting will be held on Tuesday, August 14, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m., at Ala Wai Elementary School cafeteria.  The second meeting will on Wednesday, August 22, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m., at Kapolei Hale.


The meetings are being held to provide the public with a factual overview of Oahu’s wastewater treatment system, dispel misconceptions, and explain why the City is asking that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continue to allow the City’s Honouliuli and Sand Island wastewater treatment plants to operate with 301(h) waivers from full secondary treatment requirements.  For years, the plants have been providing full primary treatment (and in the case of Honouliuli, partial secondary treatment) to wastewater before discharging it more than a mile offshore, in ocean depths of approximately 200 feet, without any detrimental effects to the marine environment or public health.


Mayor Hannemann said, “To upgrade these two plants to full secondary treatment, the City will need to expend an estimated $1.2 billion for construction at the facilities.  This expense doesn’t include the increased cost to operate and maintain the expanded plants nor does it include the additional energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of secondary treatment.  These expenses are unnecessary at this time.  Our first priority must be to work with EPA officials to address far more pressing needs to improve our collection system—the 1,400 miles of underground mains that carry wastewater to our treatment plants.  It is the condition of our collection system that poses a risk to public health and that is where we must focus our efforts.


“The EPA informed Honolulu of a tentative denial of the 301(h) waiver for Honouliuli in March, and is expected to take similar action for Sand Island this fall.  Providing full secondary treatment at Sand Island and Honouliuli wastewater treatment plants will drive monthly residential sewer fees as high as $300 in less than 20 years.”


The EPA has extended the public comment period on the denial for Honouliuli’s waiver to August 27.  All concerned residents are encouraged to attend the meetings.




Bill Brennan, 527-6928

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

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