Water Quality

Requires agricultural, golf course, park, and landfill operations
to install lysimeters to detect potential groundwater

THE SENATE                              S.B. NO.           6
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 1999                                
STATE OF HAWAII                                            

                   A  BILL  FOR  AN  ACT


 1      SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that the water quality of
 2 both the State's groundwater resources and coastal water
 3 environments are in need of protection from contaminants (e.g.,
 4 nitrogen fertilizers, agricultural pesticides, and industrial
 5 solvents) introduced by the operation of agricultural facilities,
 6 golf courses, parks, and landfills; as well as the reuse of
 7 wastewater effluent, which is currently being promoted by the
 8 counties.
 9      Over the past two decades, the State's water resources have
10 been negatively impacted by human activities, although not all of
11 the causes of these impacts have been determined.  Central Oahu's
12 aquifers are contaminated with pesticides, and have among the
13 highest nitrate levels in the State.  Maui's coastal waters have
14 recurring algae blooms that degrade and destroy marine habitats
15 and complete ecosystems, as well as produce an extremely poor
16 environment for coastal dwellers, beachgoers, and tourists who
17 find the putrid smell of rotting algae offensive.  Statewide,
18 there may be a possible correlation between introduced
19 contaminants, such as fertilizers, and other coastal problems,

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 1 such as increased populations of the dinoflagellate that causes
 2 ciguatera poisoning.  The legislature seeks to reduce the amount
 3 of chemicals and nutrients that contaminate the State's aquifers
 4 and subsequently leach into its coastal waters.
 5      The legislature further finds that a relatively inexpensive
 6 way for agricultural, golf course, park, and landfill operations
 7 to detect leaching chemicals and nutrients is through the use of
 8 lysimeters.  Lysimeters collect water that percolates past the
 9 roots of plants before it reaches the aquifer.  The collected
10 water is then tested for various chemicals.  By applying low cost
11 screen testing methods, multiple inexpensive tests can be
12 conducted for indicator chemicals to ensure clean and safe
13 operations.  With regard to agricultural, golf course, and park
14 operations, savings derived from the detection of unintentional
15 overapplications of fertilizers and pesticides will easily pay
16 for the cost of these lysimeters.
17      Furthermore, the legislature intends that the methods
18 employed with lysimeters reflect the legislature's interest in
19 protecting human health and the environment at minimal cost.  To
20 keep costs low, screen testing for indicator chemicals, or easily
21 detectable compounds that may be present in an array of chemicals
22 applied to a particular property, should be considered.  The

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                                     S.B. NO.           6

 1 presence of an indicator chemical identifies the potential
 2 presence of other chemical compounds, whereupon more detailed
 3 testing should occur.  Screen testing also keeps costs low
 4 because it does not require adherence to methods identified in
 5 the Code of Federal Regulations.  Moreover, screen testing
 6 accepts inexpensive methods, such as field kits that use
 7 reagents, antibody tests, or other commercially available
 8 technologies, that measure concentrations within acceptable
 9 levels to identify potential problems or environmental impacts.
10      SECTION 2.  Chapter 342D, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is
11 amended by adding a new part to be appropriately designated and
12 to read as follows:
14      342D-    Groundwater testing; when required.  Within one
15 year of the effective date of this part, all operators of
16 agricultural, golf course, landfill, and park operations shall
17 install, maintain, and utilize lysimeters in their operations to
18 detect potential groundwater contaminants.
19      342D-    Rules for groundwater testing.  The director shall
20 establish by rule, standards for the location and number of
21 lysimeters required for agricultural, golf course, landfill, and
22 park operations; measurement standards; recordkeeping standards;

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 1 reporting standards; and standards for corrective action.
 2      342D-    Definitions.  As used in this part:
 3      "Agricultural operation" means a commercial agricultural
 4 facility or pursuit conducted, in whole or in part, for the care
 5 and production of horticultural or floricultural products, and
 6 the planting and cultivating of crops.  The term includes the
 7 operation of irrigation systems utilizing treated or partially
 8 treated wastewater effluent; and the application of chemical
 9 fertilizers, conditioners, and pesticides.
10      "Golf course operation" means a facility used as a golf
11 course, including practice areas such as driving ranges, practice
12 greens, and chipping greens, and all other appurtenant uses.  The
13 term includes the operation of irrigation systems utilizing
14 treated or partially treated effluent; and the application of
15 chemical fertilizers, conditioners, and pesticides.
16      "Landfill operation" means a sanitary landfill as defined in
17 section 342H-1.
18      "Lysimeter" means a pan lysimeter that collects water in the
19 vadose zone by restricting the downward flow of groundwater to a
20 small area that produces a localized saturated zone where the
21 water is then removed and provides the operator with the ability
22 to conduct quantitative mass flux measurements of contaminants in

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 1 the vadose zone while minimizing the risk of false-positive or
 2 false-negative measurements.  A lysimeter verifiably calibrates
 3 mass flux measurements with an accuracy of at least thirty per
 4 cent and provides the operator with the ability to test for the
 5 leaching of chemicals used by the operator, including but not
 6 limited to, chemical fertilizers, conditioners, and pesticides.
 7      "Park operation" means the operation of a public or private
 8 park or playground facility, including cemeteries and other large
 9 turfgrass areas, with a total land area greater than one acre.
10 The term includes the operation of irrigation systems utilizing
11 treated or partially treated effluent; and the application of
12 chemical fertilizers, conditioners, and pesticides.
13      "Pesticide" means the same as defined in section 149A-2.
14      "Vadose zone" means the underground portion between the
15 lowest reaches of the roots of plants and the aquifer."
16      SECTION 3.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
18                           INTRODUCED BY:  _______________________