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Bill to Assess Fees on Cesspools, Septic Tanks Deferred

Posted April 5, 2013, 01:53 PM HST
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Tens of thousands of East Hawaii homes depend on individual septic systems because they are not connected to Hilo's wastewater treatment plant, shown above, which is located southeast of Hilo's airport. Google Earth image.

A bill in the state Legislature that would have charged a fee to owners of individual wastewater systems is dead for the session.

Sen. Russell Ruderman (D-Puna) said the Senate Committee on Ways and Means today voted to defer House Bill 903.

The measure proposed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s administration was aimed at reducing “nonpoint” pollution sources such as cesspools and septic tanks as well as agriculture runoff. Revenues from the fee would have been used to monitor and control pollution in marine and ground waters.

The bill would have had a significant impact on the Big Island where broad expanses are not served by municipal sewer systems.

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Earlier versions of the bill would also have required all agricultural operations to file a management plan for runoff which prompted an outcry from a wide range of farming and ranching organizations.

Ruderman said in a statement issued today that he supports the intent of the bill to reduce environmental pollution, but felt that in its current form it would have a negative economic impact on the Puna and Ka`u districts.

“Hopefully we can find a version that will address all of the concerns of our constituents,” he said.

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