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Release Date: 5/30/1995
Contact Information: Arnold Robbins, U.S. EPA, (415) 744-1486 Barbra An Pleadwell, Hawai'i DOH, (808) 586-4442

   (San Francisco) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(U.S. EPA) today announced that it has approved a groundwater
protection program for Hawai'i.

     "We are pleased to approve this program for Hawai'i," said
Alexis Strauss, U.S. EPA's Water Management Division director.
"The Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) has developed a good
program that empowers local governments and communities to
protect their underground sources of drinking water."

     The emphasis of the wellhead protection program is to
prevent contamination of groundwater by managing activities in a
designated area to prevent pollutants from moving into the
groundwater and into drinking water wells.

     "In Hawai'i, over 95 percent of our drinking water comes
from groundwater," said Bruce Anderson, Deputy Director for
Hawai'i DOH.  "Once groundwater is contaminated, it is
practically impossible to clean-up.  Our program efforts are
focused on preventing pollution of this vital resource."

     Currently, the community of Moloka'i is in the process of
developing a wellhead protection program.  Interest is growing
among other communities as they realize that wellhead protection
is a cost-effective means of ensuring a safe drinking water
supply for the future.

     In the last year, DOH has held wellhead protection
informational meetings in all counties.  This year DOH plans to
focus protection efforts in the Ala Wai Canal Watershed on O'ahu
and West Maui.  Copies of the Hawai'i Wellhead Protection Program
Plan are available to the public by contacting Barry Ching at the
State Department of Health's Environmental Protection Office at
586-4347 or 919 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu, Hawai'i 96814.

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