Maui Senators Praise Signing of Cesspool Tax Credit Bill

June 12, 2015, 2:29 PM HST · Updated June 12, 2:30 PM
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 Provides temporary income tax credit for the cost of upgrading or converting a qualified cesspool to a septic system or an aerobic treatment unit system or connecting to a sewer system. Photo credit: Office of the Governor, State of Hawaiʻi.

Bill signing ceremony for HB1140: Provides temporary income tax credit for the cost of upgrading or converting a qualified cesspool to a septic system or an aerobic treatment unit system or connecting to a sewer system. (June 12, 2015) Photo credit: Office of the Governor, State of Hawaiʻi.

By Maui Now Staff

Maui’s state senatorial delegation is praising the passage and signing of House Bill 1140, a cesspool tax credit measure that lawmakers say will provide financial support for a waste disposal issue that the state and the counties have been struggling with for years.

Governor David Ige today singed the bill into law, creating Act 120, which provides temporary income tax credit for the cost of upgrading or converting a qualified cesspool to a septic system or an aerobic treatment unit system or connecting to a sewer system.

As the Senator whose majority of constituents reside in rural communities, Senate Majority Leader, J Kalani English, for many years has been looking for alternatives to address the lack of waste disposal systems within his district and throughout the state as concerns have been raised about cesspools being a contamination source for the state’s streams, groundwater, and ocean.

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“Installing sewer systems in remote areas has been prohibitively expensive for counties across the state,” said Sen. English in a press release statement.  “This measure will help many residents, especially those living in the remote areas such as Hāna, Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i, to convert old cesspools to modern septic systems.  I am hopeful that homeowners living close to the sea or a river will take advantage of this tax credit as a way to maintain the integrity of our waters and oceans,” he said.

Fellow Senator Gill Keith Agaran, who represents Central Maui also commented saying, “The effort to shift from cesspools to a septic or aerobic treatment system affects our older Neighbor Island and rural communities more than the urban areas that have the option of hooking up with a county’s sewer system. These credits will help alleviate a portion of the financial impact of purchasing a more environmentally friendly individual wastewater system.”

Maui Senator Rosalyn Baker, who attended the bill signing ceremony said, “Many cesspool owners for financial reasons have been unable to convert their cesspools even while knowing their systems pose a risk to our water supply.  This legislation will make sure our precious water supply is protected and assists residents to do the right thing.”

As another alternative to the waste disposal issue, Sen. English also co-introduced Senate Bill 878, which authorizes the counties to approve the installation and use of composting toilets in areas that are inaccessible to municipal wastewater systems.  SB878, CD1 also advanced to the Governor’s desk and is awaiting his signature.

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