HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

1105

THIRTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2019

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

RELATING TO ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


SECTION 1. The legislature finds that, according to the Environmental Protection Agency's 2016 Underground Injection Well Inventory, Hawaii has over six thousand six hundred injection wells. The Environmental Protection Agency defines an injection well as a shaft, hole, sinkhole, improved sinkhole, or subsurface distribution system into which a substance in a semisolid, liquid, sludge, or gaseous state is placed into an underground geologic formation. Underground injection wells may be used for a range of purposes including storage of carbon dioxide or other industrial byproducts and disposal of waste. According to the Environmental Protection Agency's published inventory, all of Hawaii's underground injection wells are Class V wells, which are used to inject non-hazardous fluids into or above underground sources of drinking water, usually through shallow disposal systems that depend on gravity to drain fluids directly into the underground geology, and which can pose a threat to ground water quality.

Researchers from the University of Hawaii at Manoa used field experiments and chemical analysis of water and algae in Maui to establish a connection between coastal groundwater and the health of nearshore ecosystems. The results were detailed and published on November 3, 2016, in the study "Impact of Submarine Groundwater Discharge on Marine Water Quality and Reef Biota of Maui" and showed that the wastewater injection wells at the Kahului Wastewater Reclamation Facility have had a significant impact on Kahului Bay. The study highlighted that there were relatively high nutrient levels in marine surface waters in Kahului Bay and that shallow areas were almost entirely dominated by a thick fleshy mat of colonial zoanthids, a phenomenon not reported anywhere else in the State.

Injection wells can be hazardous to the environment and pose a risk to the health and safety of the public. Accordingly, the purpose of this Act is to phase out the use of underground injection wells by prohibiting the director of health from issuing new permits for the construction of underground injection wells for any purpose:

(1) After January 1, 2020, unless alternative wastewater disposal options are not available, feasible, or practical for sewage wastewater disposal; and

(2) After January 1, 2025, in all circumstances.

SECTION 2. Chapter 340E, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to Part I to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"340E-   New injection wells prohibited. (a) Effective January 1, 2020, the department shall cease to issue approvals for the construction of any new injection wells other than sewage wastewater injection wells in a location where alternative wastewater disposal options are not available, feasible, or practical.

(b) Effective January 1, 2025, the department shall cease to issue approvals for the construction of any new injection wells in all circumstances.

(c) Any injection well for which the department issued an approval prior to the dates specified in subsections (a) and (b) shall be subject to regulation by the department pursuant to rules for the underground injection control program adopted by the director pursuant to section 340E-2(e)."

SECTION 3. Section 340E-1, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding two new definitions to be appropriately inserted and to read as follows:

""Injection well" means a shaft, hole, sinkhole, improved sinkhole, or subsurface distribution system into which a substance in a semisolid, liquid, sludge, or gaseous state is placed into an underground geologic formation; provided that "injection well" shall not include cesspools or septic systems as defined in section 342D-72.

"Sewage wastewater" means any liquid wastewater that includes sewage from humans or household operations regardless of whether the wastewater has been treated or whether the wastewater has been shown to pollute or tend to pollute state waters."

SECTION 4. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 5. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

_____________________________

 

 


 


 

Report Title:

Underground Injection Wells; Sewage Wastewater

 

Description:

Effective 1/1/2020, prohibits approval of new underground injection wells other than sewage wastewater wells where no alternative means of disposal is available. Effective 1/1/2025, prohibits approval of new underground injection wells in any circumstances.

 

 

 

The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.