STAND. COM. REP. NO. 412
RE: S.B. No. 285
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirty-Second State Legislature
Regular Session of 2023
State of Hawaii
Your Committees on Agriculture and Environment and Higher Education, to which was referred S.B. No. 285 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO WASTEWATER SYSTEMS,"
beg leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to
(1) Establish a three-year New Waste Management Solution and Cesspool System Demonstration Pilot Program within the University of Hawaii Water Resources Research Center to examine and demonstrate new wastewater and cesspool technology systems; implement those technologies in demonstration projects in areas across the State that are identified as Priority Level 1 in the 2021 Hawaii Cesspool Hazard Assessment and Prioritization Tool Report; and establish a similar ranking system for prioritization levels for the islands of Molokai, Lanai, and Niihau; and
(2) Appropriate funds for the pilot program and positions.
Your Committees received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Health, University of Hawai‘i Water Resources Research Center and Sea Grant College Program, Department of Hawaiian Homelands, Friends of Hanauma Bay, Environmental Caucus of The Democratic Party of Hawai‘i, Surfrider Foundation, Hawai‘i Reef and Ocean Coalition, Hawaii Marine Education and Research Center, Hawai‘i REALTORS, Wastewater Alternatives and Innovations, and four individuals.
Your Committees find that Act 125, Session Laws of Hawaii 2017, set the goal to upgrade or convert the 83,000 cesspools in the State to a septic or aerobic treatment unit system or to connect them to a central sewerage system before 2050. Your Committees additionally find that the lack of affordable, effective technology options is a major impediment to Hawaii's water quality improvement goals, and has the potential to result in a huge investment that yields little actual benefit. This measure will leverage the University of Hawaii's extensive research expertise to create an innovative pilot program that would test the safety and efficiency of new and emerging on-site wastewater technologies, determine which are best suited for Hawaii's unique conditions, and ultimately support the Department of Health in approving new and more cost effective technologies for large-scale implementation.
Your Committees have amended this measure by deleting references to "waste management" and "cesspool systems" and replacing both with the term "wastewater systems" as recommended by the Department of Health, since a cesspool is considered a wastewater system and waste management typically refers to the management of solid waste.
As affirmed by the records of votes of the members of your Committees on Agriculture and Environment and Higher Education that are attached to this report, your Committees are in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 285, as amended herein, and recommend that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 285, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Ways and Means.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committees on Agriculture and Environment and Higher Education,
DONNA MERCADO KIM, Chair
MIKE GABBARD, Chair