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Population: 1,211,537

Information on the state of Hawaii is available for the following topics. To review this information, click on the links below.

Contacts| Regulations, Statutes & State Codes | Quick Facts | Septic Stats

Onsite Demonstration Programs | Onsite Management Communities



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Dennis Tulang, Engineer Program Manager
Harold Yee
Hawaii Department of Health
Wastewater Branch
Environmental Management Division
919 Ala Moana Boulevard
Honolulu, Hawaii 96814
(808) 586-4294
(808) 586-4300 (fax)



Regulations, Statutes & State Codes:
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Hawaii State Regulations

Hawaii Constitutions, Statutes and Codes

Wastewater Systems
Title 11, Chapter 62
August 1991

Onsite regulations for Hawaii are currently being revised, including EPA's 503 biosolids regulations. The target date for the amendments is June 2002.

Those technologies approved for use in Hawaii include:
· Conventional-Aerobic treatment units, septic tanks, soil absorption beds and trenches, absorption or seepage pits, dry wells, sand filters, mounds, and evapotranspiration beds.
· Alternative-Gravelless chambers, some gravelless pipe systems, constructed wetlands, composting and incineration toilets, and aerobic systems with NSF Std. 40 certification.
· Experimental-Each installation requires local Board of Health approval and dedicated site for replacement with conventional or alternative systems. No specific products or technologies are identified as experimental, but an experimental technology can be approved on a case-by-case basis.

Surface discharge for onsite septic systems is not allowed in Hawaii. However, larger systems are allowed to surface discharge through the Hawaii equivalent to an NPDES permit, called a CDPS.

Hawaii State Code does not allow for drainfield area/size reductions.

No funding program or mechanism exists to assist homeowners replacing a failing system or installing a new system, and there are no plans to develop such a mechanism within the next year. Questions may be directed to Tulang (above).

Currently, there are no ongoing onsite wastewater demonstration, research, or testing projects in the State.

Hawaii Code does not recognize or require management programs/contracts or management districts to monitor and maintain onsite systems or individual liquid waste systems, and there are no plans to develop such programs. Local agencies have authority to adopt or require maintenance/management programs by promulgating state rules.

Permits issued per year are tracked in Hawaii for new construction, but not for repair or replacement of existing systems. All records are maintained at the State level.

The State of Hawaii has not defined what a failed system is, but the most common reasons for system failure in the State are cited as lack of proper maintenance and poor soil conditions.

State onsite certification or licensing programs exist for design engineers and installing contractors. No licensing or certification program exists for inspections. Site evaluations require percolation tests; such tests must be performed by a registered professional engineer or local health department staff.

Information regarding municipal wastewater regulations may be obtained by contacting Tim Steinburger, Director, Department of Environmental Service at (808) 527-6663.

Quick Facts:
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Total number of onsite systems: 1990 U.S. census reports about 73,000.

Number of new systems installed each year: 1000-1200.

Failure definition: Improper construction, or wastewater overflow.

Number or proportion of systems presently failing: 15% to 35% estimated, including
cesspools and other substandard systems.

Number or proportion repaired annually: 25.

Number or proportion replaced annually: 25; note, this does not count replacement of
cesspools, all considered substandard.

Number or proportion of repairs or replacements that require alternative technology (e.g.,
sand filters, pressure dosing):
Very few, probably less than 10/year.

Number or proportion of repairs or replacements that require advanced technology (e.g.,
disinfection, nutrient removal):
Even fewer, probably less than 5 per year.

Cost of a conventional septic system installation: $6500; range, $5000-$8500.

Cost of a centralized sewer tie-in (including fees and cost of the sewer lateral): $10,000 to


Septic Stats:
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HAWAII 1,108,229 389,810 380,375 755 113 8,567 312,812 72,940 4,058
HAWAII 120,317 48,253 40,804 153 3 7,293 13,393 33,072 1,788
HONOLULU 836,231 281,683 280,997 259 46 391 263,552 16,724 1,407
KALAWAO 130 101 101 0 0 0 0 101 0
KAUAI 51,177 17,613 17,144 197 39 233 5,444 11,808 361
MAUI 100,374 42,160 41,329 146 35 650 30,423 11,235 502


Onsite Demonstration Programs:
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No information is available on Onsite Demonstration Programs in Hawaii.

Onsite Management Communities:
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No information is available on Onsite Management Communities in Hawaii.