August, Circle of Blue, Using the Global Terrorism Database, a team of researchers from Florida International University discovered that water-related terrorism has risen by 263 percent from 1970 to 2016. The researchers identified 675 water-related incidents in 71 countries, and found that water infrastructure was the most common target of water-related terrorism. New Security Beat
West Hawaii Today; Max Dible, 25 June 2018: Every day cesspools throughout Hawaii send an excess of harmful nutrients pouring into nearshore ocean water and threatening to infiltrate the freshwater drinking supply. Hawaii island is home to tens of thousands of them representing nearly half of the known cesspools used throughout the state. With the deadline of 2050 to shut down every one of them, the State Department of Health has scheduled informational community meetings in both Kailua Kona and Hilo…
…When cesspool seepage intermingles with ground water, it can find its way into aquifer drawn on by the county. This is generally less of a concern at the deep well sites, which can range between 1,000 and 2,000 feet in depth and supply Hawaii island with most of its drinking water…
For the rest of the article see…
June 2018, By Heather Clancy for Green Biz.
It’s impossible and fiscally irresponsible to have discussions about future investments in grid infrastructure without considering their implications for regional resilience: the capability to withstand catastrophic weather or natural disasters without prolonged electricity outages.
That adage applies equally to both remote islands heavily reliant on offshore sources of fuel, such as Hawaii or Puerto Rico, and towns and cities on the mainland vulnerable to sea level rises or destructive winds, particularly coastal communities.
“Our existing system is highly vulnerable,” acknowledged Hawaii Public Utility Commissioner Jay Griffin during a VERGE Hawaii session last week about the benefits of “electrifying everything,” including transportation services and the heating and cooling loads of buildings.
The notion that solar plus storage technology plus intelligent local distribution services could short-circuit lengthy blackouts is appealing to many across the Hawaiian island archipelago, currently grappling with the system strain caused by unprecedented floods on Kauai and volcanic activity on the Big Island.
“The ability to fuel ourselves with electricity produced here — not just to have electricity but to fuel our transportation — that seems to me a much more resilient than the one we have today,” Griffin said. Currently, renewable energy accounts for about one-quarter of Hawaii’s electricity generation. The island imports millions of gallons of oil annually, to fuel its power plants, despite its mandate to transition to 100 percent renewables by 2045.
The good news is that the trend toward commercial investments in distributed generating resources — including wind, solar, biomass and energy storage systems — aligns closely with that goal. The trick is to ensure that all the stakeholders across a region — including local utilities, government agencies, businesses and private citizens — are considered in the strategic plan, according to many experts speaking last week at VERGE Hawaii.
Today, many relevant conversations about resilience happen in a vacuum, they noted. That is, they are confined to a single government agency or business. “We are planning specifically,” said Kyle Datta, general partner of investment firm Ulupono Initiative.
Here’s why sharing information matters
Cross-agency and cross-sector conversations are important for identifying scenarios that might affect response times or the locations chosen for investments in microgrids and generating resources.
For example, in Honolulu, there are about 20 water pumps used to manage the freshwater supply, but there currently is backup power in place for only seven. If some portion of the grid can’t be restored promptly, there could be a full-blown health crisis, Datta noted. Similarly, many electric utilities don’t spend enough time understanding the impact on telecommunications, he said. “What is the value of having an extra day of recovery?”
for the rest of this excellent report click here…
April 2018: University of Hawaii.
Groundwater that seeps into the coastal zone beneath the ocean’s surface–termed submarine groundwater discharge (SGD)–is an important source of fresh water and nutrients to nearshore coral reefs throughout the globe. Although submarine groundwater is natural, it can act as a conduit for highly polluted water to shorelines. A recently published study, led by researchers at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa’s School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), sheds light on the ways SGD affects coral reef growth.
“SGD is common on nearshore coral reefs, especially in Hawai’i, so we set out to test how SGD affects coral reef growth in Maunalua Bay, O’ahu.” said Megan Donahue, associate researcher at the Hawai’i Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB) in SOEST and senior author of the study.
Two processes contribute to the overall growth of coral reefs: coral growth and bioerosion, the natural breakdown of coral reefs by reef organisms. To determine how SGD affects these processes, the research team outplanted small pieces of lobe coral on the reef flat in areas with a range of SGD and measured the changes in size over a six-month period. They also put out blocks of dead coral skeleton across the same SGD gradients for one year to measure bioerosion rates. The blocks were scanned before and after the deployment with a micro-CT scanner, similar to a hospital CT scanner, to determine the amount of coral skeleton removed by bioeroding organisms in three dimensions.
In areas with high levels of SGD, it was a double whammy for coral reefs. Corals that were right next to SGD seeps performed poorly, likely due to the stress of too much fresh water.
See the rest of this report here
April 2018: LAHAINA, MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) –
Maui County could is gearing up for a legal battle over wastewater.
County officials say they will appeal its Lahaina wastewater case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
That’s after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Friday rejected the County’s petition to reconsider it’s February ruling that said the county violated the Clean Water Act.
Since the early 80s, Maui injected untreated sewage into wells that leaked into the ocean, causing environmental damage.
See the rest of the story here
March 2018: University of Hawaii, Tsu Chuan Lee, Clark Liu.
Summary: The reduction of the biodiversity of a mesotrophic lake can be used in water quality management as a warning sign of an imminent algal bloom.
Algal bloom in a freshwater lake is a rapid increase of aquatic plants, which disrupts the ecological balance and its potential for beneficial uses. This problem has been managed by relating the trophic levels of a lake with nutrient loading. This traditional management approach is less than satisfactory as it neglects considering the intricate relationship between nutrient loading and the algal community. As a result, it often fails to detect an imminent algal bloom and fails to formulate and implement timely remedial measures. The advancement of modern molecular biosciences has provided an opportunity to improve this traditional approach. In this study, field and laboratory experiments on lake bioproductivity and biodiversity were conducted in Lake Wilson on central Oahu, Hawaii. Bioproductivity or algal productivity was evaluated in terms of the rate of chlorophyll growth in the lake water, and the biodiversity or genetic biodiversity was evaluated by using the method of denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis of the algae species and the Shannon index. Research results indicated that eukaryote communities in Lake Wilson were more diverse under the mesotrophic state of algal productivity than those under the oligotrophic and eutrophic states. Therefore, the reduction of the biodiversity of a mesotrophic lake can be used in water quality management as a warning sign of an imminent algal bloom
(December/Kobayashi Comment: This trend is also seen in Hawaii although Hawaii’s population growth will likely erode this decline in the future.)
By Brett Walton, Circle of Blue:
Continuing a trend that began in the early 1990s with tighter federal plumbing standards, U.S. household water use dropped again in 2015.
When assessing national figures, there are two main ways to gauge water use at home: the amount used per person and total water use, which incorporates changes in population. By both measures, water use is declining, according to the latest report from the U.S. Geological Survey, the agency that gathers national data every five years.
For people served by public and private utilities, water use for cooking, drinking, showering, lawn watering, car washing, and other household tasks dropped to an average of 83 gallons per person per day in 2015, down seven percent compared to 2010. Household use was 105 gallons per person per day in 1990.
Link for the rest of the article
(November ) The American Water Works Association Hawai‘i Section and the Hawai‘i Water Environment Association are proud to announce the fifth annual joint conference now known as the Pacific Water Conference at the Hawai‘i Convention Center from February 6 – 8, 2018. Our joint conference committee is hard at work to bring you an exciting, fun, and educational conference.
The Pre-Conference Workshop kicks things off on Tuesday, February 6. The Conference officially opens on Wednesday, February 7 and lasts through Thursday, February 8. Join us at the Convention Center Kamehameha Exhibit Hall I to cheer on this year’s operator competitions featuring HWEA’s Operations Challenge and AWWA’s Pipe Tapping and Top Ops events. Remember to check out the exhibitors showcasing the newest and latest products in the industry. With five technical session tracks to choose from, there’s sure to be one that piques your interest. The conference golf tournament will be held on Friday, February 9 at the Kapolei Golf Course, and the community service event will take place on Saturday, February 10.
Here is the link to register…
(October/ Editor Kobayashi Comment: This is an excellent article on the extinction of vital plants from the islands which are essential for water retention and aquifer infiltration. I have included an excerpt with a link to the actual article)
Hawaii has far more endangered species than any other state but has never gotten its share of federal funding. Now, budget cuts threaten the few programs we have.
“WHAT MAKES HAWAII MORE THAN YOUR PLANTS AND YOUR ENVIRONMENT?”
Nellie Sugii asks rhetorically. We’re standing in the downstairs room of the micropropagation laboratory at the Harold L. Lyon Arboretum in Manoa, where Sugii manages the Hawaiian Rare Plant Program. The room is full of test tubes. Inside, tiny clones of some of Hawaii’s most endangered plant species, many of them no bigger than a person’s fingertip, glow like green nuclei. Each year, hundreds of rare plant species are coaxed back from the brink of extinction here, grown in a solid nutrient solution that looks like clear Jell-O.
Eventually, these plants will go to a greenhouse down the hill and then to native forest restoration projects. At the moment, however, they are too fragile for the real world, a feeling compounded by the precarious setup: plastic trays of test tubes stacked on top of one another, balanced on thin wire shelves that nearly graze the ceiling. Sneeze, and you’d cause a half-dozen extinctions.
Started in 1992 as an orchid teaching lab, the micropropagation facility is a crucial component of the Plant Extinction Prevention Program (PEPP), a statewide effort to protect and preserve Hawaii’s most critically endangered plant species. If nature conservation is a hospital, PEPP is the emergency room. The program is led by Joan Yoshioka (who happens also to be trained as an actual nurse) and focuses exclusively on plants with fewer than 50 individuals left – in other words, those species closest to death.
Until the creation of PEPP in 2003, Hawaii was losing roughly one plant species per year. Over the past decade and a half, however, PEPP has reduced that number to zero. Of the 238 species that meet the program’s criteria, not one has gone extinct.
EXTINCTION IS PERMANENT. THERE IS NO BOUNCING BACK.”
-Joan Yoshioka, Statewide manager, Plant Extinction Prevention Program
But now, PEPP and the Rare Plant Program are in danger of becoming extinct themselves. Both rely heavily on federal funding through the Endangered Species Act, the landmark wildlife protection legislation. Last year, PEPP’s funding was cut by a third, Yoshioka says. This year, with President Trump proposing a 12 percent cut – approximately $1.5 billion – to the Department of the Interior, which funds the majority of endangered species recovery, Yoshioka anticipates even greater cuts, to the point where she is concerned for the program’s survival.
Link to the rest of the article is here…
HONOLULU, AUG 25, 2017 — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced an agreement with the owner of two Big Island hardware stores and a commercial property to close four large-capacity cesspools (LCCs) at properties in Naalehu, Kamuela and Hilo, Hawaii. Cesspools can contaminate groundwater, and LCCs have been banned since 2005.
“Replacing these harmful cesspools with modern wastewater treatment systems will protect the Big Island’s drinking water and coastal resources,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Our goal is to protect Hawaii’s waters by closing all large-capacity cesspools.”
In 2016, EPA found three cesspools during inspections at the Naalehu and Kamuela Housemart Ace Hardware stores, owned by Maui Varieties Investments, Inc. (MVI). MVI also voluntarily disclosed a fourth LCC at a separate commercial property that houses a farm supply store in Hilo.
MVI will be closing the two LCCs serving the Naalehu store and neighboring buildings and replacing the LCCs with wastewater treatment systems approved by the Hawaii Department of Health. The company will be closing the LCC at the Kamuela store and connecting it to a private sewer system. Finally, MVI will close the LCC at the commercial property in Hilo and connect it to the County of Hawaii’s sewer system. MVI will also pay a civil penalty of $134,000.
An LCC is a cesspool that serves multiple residential dwellings or a commercial facility with the capacity to serve 20 or more people per day. Cesspools collect and discharge waterborne pollutants like untreated raw sewage into the ground, where disease-causing pathogens can contaminate groundwater, streams and the ocean. LCCs were banned under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act in April 2005.
Cesspools are used more widely in Hawaii than in any other state, despite the fact that 95 percent of all drinking water in Hawaii comes from groundwater sources. Since the federal LCC ban took effect in 2005, over 3,400 large-capacity cesspools have been closed state-wide, many through voluntary compliance.