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Final EA issued for West Maui Recycled Water System Project

By BY LOUISE ROCKETT - | Jul 2, 2021

WEST MAUI — Progress on the development of the West Maui Recycled Water System Project inched forward with the publication of the Final Environmental Assessment (FEA) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) in the state Office of Environmental Quality Control’s The Environmental Notice on June 23.

The County of Maui, Department of Environmental Management, Wastewater Reclamation Division manages the operations of the Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility (WWRF), producing R-1 recycled water, the highest grade of recycled water for non-potable use, distributing this valuable water resource through the West Maui Recycled Water System.

The expansion includes improvements to the Honokowai Reservoir, the Lahaina WWRF, the connecting waterlines and the addition of new waterlines within Kaanapali Resort.

Proposed upgrades to the reservoir will include earthwork, replacement of the existing lining and addition of a geosynthetic floating cover; thus, enhancing its function as elevated storage of recycled water for irrigation.

At the WWRF, proposed improvements include the replacement of the reuse water pump station and construction of a new covered storage basin for recycled water.

The Honokowai Reservoir waterlines will be upgraded from 20 to 24 inches.

The Kaanapali Resort R-1 Water Distribution System Expansion proposes installing a control valve on the 16-inch waterline at the Kaanapali Golf Course.

The project area is located on a number of parcels extending from the Honokowai Reservoir to the Hyatt Regency Resort, all within the Honokowai Ahupua’a.

Overall, the goal is to interconnect the two existing recycled water distribution systems (Mauka and South), allowing continuous supply of pressurized wastewater treated to the highest non-potable grade, R-1.

The Mauka System currently consists of two pumps at the Lahaina WWRF reuse pump station and an existing 20-inch recycled waterline that connects to two existing reservoirs: the Honokowai Reservoir at the 300-foot elevation and a County of Maui reservoir at the 725-foot elevation.

The South System includes two pumps at the Lahaina WWRF reuse pump station and an existing 16-inch recycle waterline terminating at the Kaanapali Golf Course.

Construction costs are estimated at $26 million, with the work bid in phases. The initial phase bid is anticipated in late 2021.

According to the FEA, it’s a win-win: “The proposed projects will be the backbone of the recycled water system and will upgrade the system to a distribution system that is pressurized continually, which will facilitate future expansion of the recycled water system. The recycled water system, including the proposed project and future expansions, is anticipated to be beneficial to the environment and community. Increased use of recycled water will replace current and projected potable water use for non-potable demands. This promotes the proper management of Hawaii’s water resources by providing an alternate source, so that water is put to its best and highest use, i.e., potable water available for drinking water purposes. Increased use of recycled water will also result in a decrease of effluent disposal through injection wells.”

Wayne Hedani is the president and general manager of Kaanapali Operations Association. He considered the upgrades beneficial, taking our community “one step closer to diverting effluent from the injection wells currently in use by the County Wastewater Treatment Facility. The use of the wells has been litigated right up to the Supreme Court of the United States.

“By making improvements to this system, hopefully treated R-1 water will be more readily available to users in Kaanapali and surrounding landowners. If we cannot inject R-1 water, we need to dispose of it somehow, and reuse for irrigation is the optimal use.

“I believe it is much more productive to put dollars into infrastructure than into wasteful litigation. Upgrading the wastewater recycling system has been in the planning stages for decades. It is nice to see progress being made in terms of hard improvements which will benefit everyone down the line.

“R1 water is a valuable resource and should not be wasted. We all need to help to make this happen.”

The public has 30 days from the notice of a FONSI in the bulletin on June 23 to ask the Environmental Court to require the preparation of a more comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

The determining agency is the county Department of Environmental Management; contact Albert Hahn at (808) 270-7421 albert.hahn@co.maui.hi.us.