Suspected pollution from Hawaii wastewater facility to be tracked

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HONOLULU, HI, Aug. 2, 2011 -- As part of a new tracer study, federal and state agencies will measure how long it takes for wastewater from the Lahaina sewage treatment facility to flow to the near-shore ocean water. The investigation, funded by the U. S. EPA, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Hawaii Department of Health, is expected to yield important research to evaluate the suspected discharge of pollutants to the coastal waters along the Kaanapali coast of Maui.

University of Hawaii scientists will inject a tracer dye into the facility's underground injection wells and monitor areas where fresh water seeps into the ocean for signs of the dye.

In addition, UH and Hawaii Department of Health staff will take periodic ocean water samples at identified ground water discharge points to assess water quality. Basic water quality will be sampled monthly, while certain toxic pollutants will be sampled quarterly.

EPA said reports on the results of the tracer dye test and water quality monitoring studies will be made available to the public later this year.

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