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Help protect Maui’s waters

By Staff | Jan 12, 2012

Are Maui’s waters “fishable” and “swimmable?” What does state data reveal?

The public can found out on Monday, Jan. 16, when water quality expert Robin Knox discusses the State of Hawaii Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report.

Knox will explain why it’s important for the public to comment on the report at the free workshop from 6 to 8 p.m. at Lahaina Civic Center. (She encourages attendees to bring laptops to record comments to submit to the state Department of Health.)

“Come to learn more and get involved… leave having made a difference! Participants will also learn how to get involved in water quality monitoring efforts coordinated by local organizations and agencies,” explained Knox, coordinator of the Southwest Maui Watershed Plan and a member of the University of Hawaii research teams investigating impacts of sewage injection wells on reefs.

The state Department of Health has released the 2008/2010 Hawaii water quality report for public review; it’s posted online at hawaii.gov/health/environmental/water/cleanwater/pubntcs/index.html. The comment period has been extended until Jan. 31, 2012.

The federal Clean Water Act requires the state to monitor the quality of water in streams, wetlands and oceans; assess whether the water is meeting state water quality goals and standards; and to report every two years to Congress those waters not meeting the goals of “fishable, swimmable” waters.

The Hawaii Department of Health failed to submit this report to Congress in 2008, and the new document uses data from January 2006 to December ’09.

Knox, who has 28 years of experience in Clean Water Act regulation, said the report is important, because it helps set priorities for agency actions and funding.

She will present the report’s decisions for Maui, answer questions and provide guidance to those who want to submit comments.

Attend to find out why this report matters and what steps you can take to protect Maui waters.