LIHUE, Hawaii (AP) - The Hawaii Department of Health has withdrawn a program aimed at helping Hanalei residents upgrade their sanitation systems.
The Garden Island reported Thursday that the department pulled the plug on the program one day after Hanalei was identified as one of 14 priority areas where cesspool upgrades are critically needed to protect public health.
Cesspools are an outdated means of disposing sewage. Hawaii passed a law last year requiring the state's 88,000 cesspools to be replaced by 2050. There are about 270 cesspools in the Hanalei area.
The program provided state funds to the Hanalei Watershed Hui to cover half the cost of installing a septic tank or other modern treatment unit. But Michael Burke, program specialist with the department's Clean Water Branch, said they've been having trouble getting residents to participate.