Investigation Begins to Track Suspected Pollution From Lahaina Wastewater Facility
Scientists will inject a tracer dye into underground wells and monitor areas where fresh water seeps into the ocean
Federal and state agencies have begun important research to evaluate the suspected discharge of pollutants to the coastal waters along the Kaanapali coast of Maui, Hawaii.
Funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Hawaii Department of Health, the University of Hawaii will measure how long it takes for wastewater from the Lahaina sewage treatment facility to flow to the near-shore ocean water. University scientists will inject a tracer dye into the facility’s underground injection wells and monitor areas where fresh water seeps into the ocean for signs of the dye.
In addition, the university and department of health staff will take periodic ocean water samples at identified ground water discharge points to assess water quality. Basic water quality will be sampled monthly, while certain toxic pollutants will be sampled quarterly.
“The tracer study will help us pinpoint wastewater movement from the Lahaina injection wells,” said Alexis Strauss, director of the water division for the EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region. “The goal is to evaluate the potential impact of the facility’s discharge on the coastal waters.”
Reports on the results of the tracer dye test and water quality monitoring studies will be made available to the public later this year.