Feb 16, 2004

Mayor of Honolulu Finalizes Enactment of Unique Water Quality Ordinance

Mayor Jeremy Harris finalized the enactment of a unique water quality ordinance that pro-actively preserves the rights of consumers in the City and County of Honolulu and Island of Oahu

After close to five decades of citizens and legislators in Hawaii diligently defending their right to drinking water free of intentional medications and contamination, Mayor Jeremy Harris has finalized the enactment of a unique water quality ordinance that pro-actively preserves the rights of consumers in the City and County of Honolulu and Island of Oahu.

Combining the intent and language of ordinances enacted by citizens initiative in Santa Cruz, Redding and Watsonville, Calif., the new Honolulu ordinance is the first in the nation to provide protection for the safety of drinking water on two fronts: first, prohibiting the addition of any chemical to the drinking water intended to treat humans rather than the water; and secondly, establishing expanded and localized criteria for limiting contaminants and ensuring FDA approval for any health claims made for any specific products to be used, which further protects consumers should Hawaiian or Federal law supercede and impose mass medication.

The deadline for Mayor Harris' signature was Feb. 12 to conclude enactment of Bill 66 (2003), which was passed by a 7 to 2 vote of the Council of the City and County of Honolulu on Jan. 28.

Citizens for Safe Drinking Water encourages others to continue this safe drinking water approach and enact proactive water quality legislation in their own communities. Other safe drinking water legislation can be accessed at www.Keepers-of-the-Well.org.

The new ordinance can be found at

A portion of the text of Bill 66 (2003) is included below.

"Since ancient times, Hawaiians have treasured water as the spiritual fount of all life and as a precious resource that must be preserved for the benefit of all. The council finds that Oahu's drinking water is a vital necessity of life and should be maintained free of any chemical additives, except those necessary to make it safe and potable for human consumption. Drinking water should not be used as a means for delivery of chemicals for medical or dental purposes when other alternatives are available. The purpose of this ordinance is to prohibit the introduction of unnecessary chemical additives, considered to be medication, into Oahu's drinking water supply.

"Using the drinking water system for delivery of chemical additives for medication purpose is neither cost effective nor environmentally sound since more than 99 percent of the chemicals are not ingested and will be discharged into the environment when washing cars, watering yards, flushing toilets, etc., thereby wasting tax dollars.

"It should not be the role of government to override an individual's freedom of choice, or right to informed consent, or compel individuals to purchase purified water to protect their own health or have peace of mind. Article XI, Section 9, of the Hawaii State Constitution guarantees the individual's right to a clean and healthy environment.

"SECTION 2. Chapter 30, Revised Ordinances of Honolulu 1990, is amended by adding a new Article to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"No person shall add any product, substance, or chemical to the public water supply, except federally-owned and operated water systems, such as military facilities, for the purpose of treating or affecting the physical or mental functions of the body of any person, rather than to make the water safe or potable. This prohibition shall not apply to water treatment chemicals used to make the water potable and safe to drink, such as chlorination and anti-corrosion chemical to reduce lead.

Product safety.

Should any state law mandate using the drinking water system to dispense medication for treating the physical or mental function of a person's body, the chemical additive used shall meet the following quality control and safety requirements:

(1) All purchases of the chemical additive shall be pharmaceutical grade or equivalent. Industrial grade chemical shall not be used.

(2) The chemical additive shall not contain any contaminants which would exceed the maximum contaminant level goals established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

(3) The chemical additive shall not increase corrosion of the water piping system material components or increase leaching of heavy metals such that another chemical additive will be required to minimize corrosion.

(4) Since any chemical additive will be entering the food chain and be ingested into persons' bodies, it shall be tested and approved for safety and effectiveness by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. At a minimum, safety testing shall include the following:

(A) It shall be tested for safety using worst-case conditions for any contaminants allowed by specifications with a safety factor to cover all ranges of unrestricted consumption.

(B) If the chemical additive, in combination with body minerals, becomes a thermoluminescent phosphor material which is known to become electrically charged when exposed to radiation and X-rays, testing shall be done to determine any adverse effects. Thermoluminescent phosphor material examples are calcium fluoride, lithium fluoride, lithium bromide, and calcium sulphate.

This ordinance shall take effect upon its approval.