Cesspool Issues Rising
We’re learning about the link between cesspools, ground water, and the ocean. Research shows direct connections from cesspools to contamination in our groundwater and nearshore environment. Hawaiʻi has more than 88,000 cesspools, discharging over 50 million gallons of waste each day. And, many of the cesspools are concentrated in low-lying coastal zones—making these areas extremely vulnerable to leaking cesspools and damage from chemicals, disease, and excess nutrients.
Hawaii’s cesspool maps, coupled with researcher findings of high nutrients, pharmaceuticals, and fecal contamination are helping to make vital determinations about the most critical areas for upgrading cesspools. Working with communities to develop and implement wastewater treatment plans effective for the land characteristics and human use patterns is the next step. As we work toward better wastewater management, continuing to monitor water quality is also vital to informing ocean users and ensuring public health.
Watch the trailer for Season 7, Episode 6 on Vimeo or on YouTube.
This episode is also available with English subtitles on Vimeo and Youtube.
Maitau lenei mea i le Samoa ile Vimeo poʻo le YouTube.
Watch the episode on YouTube with archived researcher comments from our live-chat on July 15th, 2020.
We hosted a special Zoominar on August 13th, 2020, as part of the Hanauma Bay Education Program lecture series. After viewing the episode, attendees talked with featured experts.
Experts in this talk-story include Dr. Shellie Habel, Dr. Tracy Wiegner, Dr. Henrietta Dulai, Michael Mezzacapo, and Stuart Coleman.
Watch the talk-story portion of the Zoominar below. You can also watch this talk-story session on YouTube.
Hanauma Bay Lecture Series Talk-Story Zoominar
- Grade 5: Ecosystem cycling
- Activity: Compost
- Grades 6-12: What Are Aquatic Plants and Algae?
- Activity: Algae Identification with Dichotomous Key
- Activity: Making Algae Presses
- On-site Sewage Disposal Systems in Hawaiʻi (Links to interactive maps)
- Blue Water Task Force (BWTF)
- Hawaiʻi Department of Health
- Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation
US Center for Disease Control (CDC)
US Environmental Protection Agency
- Health risks associated with the pharmaceuticals in wastewater
- UH News Cesspool Research Articles
- Dr. Shellie Habel
- Dr. Tracy Wiegner
- Dr. Daniel Amato
- Dr. Henrietta Dulai
- Kewalo Marine Laboratory
- Ka Pili Kai
- Cesspools in Paradise
- Published Summer 2019, written by Helen Raine
- Cesspools in Paradise
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Kanesa Seraphin, Ph.D.