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KITV: U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele secures $50 Million to address cesspools and wastewater systems

June 9, 2021

Congressman Kai Kahele secured $50 million to invest in domestic wastewater systems, and prioritizing household cesspools.

It's part of the Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2021, a bipartisan bill that would allow $50 billion in direct infrastructure investment over the next five years to help address the U.S' wastewater infrastructure and local water quality challenges. 

“The current state of Hawaii’s infrastructure and wastewater systems threatens the health of our people, our land and our oceans. We have to act now to modernize our aging infrastructure by scaling up and implementing successful programs particularly in rural areas,” said Congressman Kahele, in a news release. “I thank the committee for approving my request for $50 million through the Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act to address the roughly 88,000 cesspools that contaminate Hawaii’s drinking water, erode our coral reefs and threaten our coastal ecosystem."

"As a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I look forward to working with my colleagues to advance this bill through Congress and get it to the President’s desk, because investing in Hawaii’s clean water infrastructure can’t wait," he added.

According to the Hawai'i Department of Health, Hawai'i's cesspools release around 53 million gallons of untreated sewage into the environment every day. 

In 2017, the state enacted Act 125 -- which would prohibit almost all cesspools throughout Hawai'i by 2050.


The Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act passed through the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure on Wednesday and awaits a vote on the House Floor.