HONOLULU (AP) - A team of University of Hawaii scientists has completed a study of nearshore ecosystems across Maui that shows the harmful impacts of discharged treated wastewater.
The findings were published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE earlier this month.
The scientists analyzed water and algae at six locations around Maui, including Kahului Bay, which is adjacent to Maui's highest-volume sewage treatment plant. A study of the bay found high nutrient levels in marine surface waters near the Kahului Wastewater Reclamation Facility and a "thick, fleshy mat" of colonial zoanthids, a coral-like organism.
The authors noted in the report that the presence of such concentrations of zoanthids is associated with areas close to wastewater injection wells.
They also found high concentrations of nitrogen near sugar cane fields.