Dear Puako Community Association,
In previous trips to Hawaii, we read about Puako, but were unable to find the reef, despite having a general idea of where it is.
I recently read about your problems with sewage leaking into the ocean and destroying the reefs, and how you cannot fix such an expensive problem all by yourselves.
I totally understand your dilemma, as setting up treatment plants and sewage treatment is extremely expensive. And getting help from government is not a very easy thing to do.
I have a suggestion: Puako is a popular destination for snorkeling but I think, from looking at maps and aerial views of the area, there is very little public access to the reef. That is probably something the local homeowners like a lot, but not so much the rest of the public that feels excluded from good snorkeling.
If you wanted to raise money for the sewage treatment, one way might be to increase the accessibility to the reef and snorkeling areas between the homes, and put up collection boxes, or even pay parking areas, so that those who would come and enjoy the area could contribute to the clean-up. The limiting of visitors could be achieved by somewhat limiting the parking spots, while achieving a good balance between enough spots to really derive a good income from the parking fees, while not too many to detract from the enjoyment of the area by too many visitors. You could also set time limits to the parking (like maybe 3 hours), so that people would not use up a parking spot all day. It would be a win-win situation. True, the area would not be that exclusive to the present residents, but there would be a means to raise enough money to fix the sewage problem and to clean up the ocean.
Just a suggestion. Someday, I would like to be able to come to Puako and do some snorkeling, and paying parking fees would not be an onerous thing to do.
6 thoughts on “Puako sewage treatment”
I first came to Puako in 1972, and as a homeowner in Puako, the first step would be to legislate the closure of all cesspools. Sunscreened tourists with coolers and unmanned coin boxes is not a solution. There are numerous access points to Puako reef, we don’t need more. We need to close down the cesspools.
I agree – we do not want to commercialize our neighborhood. It is hard to believe that with all the property tax money we pay each year, an ever increasing amount, the county is not obligated to provide a sewage system as is done elsewhere in the US and residents pay usage fees based on water or waste water usage.
At the January Coral Reef meeting the charts of the tested water in Puako showed that Septic units and ATU’s were no better than cesspools.
So the only solution is a sewer plant.
The state’s push to replace cesspools may be ineffective. More research needs to be done.
There are many access points and parking in Puako.
I would not like it to turn into Hanauma Bay.
I strongly suggest our PCA should have a talk with Mauna Lani to see if we can hook up to their system? We were offered it years ago, and the community didn’t take them up on the offer. I do believe that we should get some kind of tax credit so all can hook it up together. I don’t think the septic system is any different from the cess pools. I wonder why Puako is the only community that is being targeted, what about the “East Side” communities? There are certainly a lot more cess pools on that side!
On another note I would also like to suggest that all public access be closed at the same time Hapuna State Park closes. The visitor traffic/local traffic should not have “Carte-Blanche” 24 hours a day to the public access! Being woken up in the middle of night because of fisherman is Very Disturbing! Or honu sight-seers that disturb the peace of our protected sea life. This is a BIG PROBLEM!
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It’s sad people continue to build on the edge of the ocean. Especially the monster complexes that strip the natural beauty of the area. There is imminent risk for pollution of waste from the changes in tidal surge from storms, earthquake, tsunamis, rising sea levels etc. The economy of building real estate seems to override sense of longevity and preservation of the ocean areas for food supply and enjoyment in peaceful beautiful natural surroundings.
Until we look at long term effects of greedy human activity and the detriments of forcing our will onto nature, problems of destruction will remain the challenge. We need to learn to think of sharing our precious resources in viable ways if we desire the experience of such areas. Responsibility should be on those who choose to live and frequent the area. Few of us are privileged to live there and it will be an ongoing concern when rising populations want to frequent the oceans’ shore.
I spent 6 months composting my own waste while hosting a recreational rental area on the mainland. (with that said it makes you think about what you put into your body) Defecating in our drinking water then leaving it to risk is so nonsensical for the obvious health and monetary reasons. We take it for granted that we can excrete and think someone else should take care of our waste. Lets be more intelligent and healthier living on this planet.
Although your suggestion sounds feasible, putting up parking lots with pay boxes and expanding the access to the beach for tourists will destroy whats left of the neighborhood. We have seen in the last 10 years, an explosion of building in Puako which has resulted in the removal of all the old original Hawaiian homes. Now, there are big, unsightly houses with no one occupying them, unless they are vacation rentals, which sometimes pack 10 or more people into them.
The reef is fine in almost the entire stretch of Puako. You say you couldn’t find the reef? The reef is right in front of you when you go down one of the 8 access paths. There is plenty of access as witnessed on a daily basis by hundreds of divers and beach goers.
The entire island is being overrun by the 8.2 MILLION tourists that flock to the islands every year. The way of life which I grew up with from the 1960’s has completely disappeared. What used to be a 20 minute drive from Puako into Kailua town takes over an hour to reach. It will only get worse.
Our Politicians care about nothing but making money. In another 20 years, the Hawaiian way of life will have vanished into history. Please help by vacationing somewhere else. Auwe!
– James Elder