Nearly a dozen legislators are asking Gov. David Ige not to sign off on a proposed rule change that before the state Department of Health that would ban new cesspools statewide. 

The Feb. letter 1 was signed mostly by neighbor island state representatives and senators “whose constituents include many rural communities that rely on existing cesspools or the ability to install new ones,” says a press release.

The letter says that a previous version of the rule change “would have required conversion of all cesspools to septic systems, and would have cost Big Island homeowners, with over 50,000 cesspools, $1.5 billion.”

Hawaii State Capitol.
Hawaii State Capitol. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

The letter continues:

“A bill to do that same thing was introduced into the Legislature in 2015 and DID NOT PASS. In fact, a bill to ban new cesspools was NOT passed. The will of the Legislature should thus be clear.

“Furthermore, this rule change greatly discriminates against the poorest of our citizens who might not be able to afford to build a home if a septic system is required.”

The letter explains that septic systems in Hawaii cost up to $30,000 to install, compared to cesspools which cost up to $3,000.

Read Civil Beat’s Will Hawaii Finally Become Last State to Ban New Cesspools?

About the Author