VIDEO: Maui Committee Begins Discussion on Phase out of Injection Wells

March 15, 2011, 5:25 PM HST · Updated March 15, 5:26 PM
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By Wendy Osher

Mayor Alan Arakawa. Photo courtesy, County of Maui.

The Council’s Infrastructure and Management Committee yesterday heard testimony on a preliminary plan to phase out the use of injection wells in Maui County.

Mayor Alan Arakawa provided his input on the phase-out saying he is “firmly committed to the re-use” of wastewater.

According to the County of Maui resources, an excess of approximately 1.4 million gallons of reclaimed water per day is produced at treatment facilities.  Since the County does no have sufficient storage and distribution capability to utilize all of the reclaimed water, the excess is sent into injection wells located downstream of potable water sources.

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“We’re getting to the point in our history where we cannot afford to waste anything,” said Mayor Arakawa.

Calling wastewater a “valuable commodity,” the Mayor said, the goal is to develop a program in stages.

“We can’t do everything at one time, because if we try to do all the three plants at one time, we’re not going to be able to have the funding to complete any of the projects,” said Mayor Arakawa.

Arakawa said he intends to start the switch-over in Lahaina first, then proceed to Kihei, and conclude in Kahului.

“We’ll slowly work our way through–and when I say slowly, I mean hopefully within a few years we’ll get to the point where we’re reusing all of the wastewater,” said Mayor Arakawa.

Arakawa began his career in the county as a wastewater operator, and later ran one of the plants as a supervisor.  Speaking from experience, the Mayor noted, “Maui County was one of the first in the state to stop putting sewage directly into outfalls out to the ocean.  Over the years, we’ve pretty much led most of technology in the state in how we’ve been improving the system, and trying to get to a better position,” said Arakawa.

“Our primary goal is to eliminate the use of the injection wells, except as a backup,” said the Mayor.

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