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EPA awards $970,000 to the County of Hawaii for drinking water system upgrades

Release Date: 9/4/2003
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, (808) 541-2711

Projects include public water spigots and waterline improvements on the Big Island

     HONOLULU--The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently awarded a $970,000 grant to the County of Hawai'i for drinking water system upgrades that include providing water spigot sites on the Big Island and improvements to North Kona water lines.

     The first project will provide six sanitary water spigot sites for the public to obtain drinking water for household use in Puna, Kau, South Kona, North Kona and Hilo. The spigot stations will have a permanent structure, lighting, security and other amenities.

     "It is important that everyone be provided access to a safe and clean supply of drinking water," said Corine Li, manager of the EPA Pacific Southwest Region's Drinking Water Office. "The improvements that the County of Hawai'i will make with the spigot stations and upgraded water lines will help provide access to safe drinking water for all the residents of the Big Island."

     Residents in certain areas of the state are dependant on water catchment systems, with most residing in the County of Hawai'i. Volcanic gases from Kilauea Volcano have caused lead to leach from roof paint, solders and lead nails into catchment systems.

     Due to the concern for lead contamination and to provide access to water for owners of catchment systems during periods of drought, the County of Hawai'i has been providing emergency drinking water via temporary public water spigots. These sites, located next to fire hydrants along road ways, posed a traffic hazard, along with health and safety concerns.

     The second project will upgrade the existing waterlines along the Mamalahoa Highway to provide access to water supplies from the Keahuolu Well to the Kailua-Keahole areas of North Kona. The new waterlines will reduce the area's dependency on the current water supply from the Kahaluu Water shaft, which is being over used, resulting in deteriorating water quality.

     Both projects are estimated to begin construction in the fall of 2004 and completed by summer of 2005.        
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