D. S. Janik, Oahu County Water Quality Extension Agent, Hawaii Cooperative Extension Service, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (USDA Cooperating), University of Hawaii at Manoa, Hawaii.
The Kaiaka-Waialua Bay News is the official newsletter of the USDA Kaiaka-Waialua By Hydrologic Unit Area Project. The purpose of the Kaiaka-Waialua Bay News is to provide you with updates on projects, upcoming events, and research information. The Kaiaka-Waialua Bay News will also provide soil and water conservation ideas and measures, educational resources, and strategies for resource management and protection.
Kaiaka-Waialua Bay News is published quarterly by Hawaii Cooperative Extension Service with participation from USDA Soil Conservation Service, USDA Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, and the West Oahu Soil and Water Conservation District. Distributed in cooperation with the U. S. Department of Agriculture in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914. Cooperative Extension Work in Agriculture and Home Economics, Noel P. Kefford, Director and Dean, Hawaii cooperative Extension Service, College of Tropical Agriculture, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI 96822 USA. To cite this article, use: Janik DS. Groundwater Quality Strategies. Kaiaka-Waialua Bay News 95 Apr (4) 1: 3-4]
Groundwater is an important source of agricultural, hygiene and drinking water in Hawaii. Three key groundwater quality strategies are remediation, decontamination and prevention. Researchers at the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM) Water Resources Research Center (WRRC) say widespread non-point source pollution (NPSP) of groundwater in the Pearl Harbor area of Oahu with agricultural pesticides has been known since 1983: "Cleanup of the water there is no longer an achievable goal. Instead contaminated groundwater is monitored and then decontaminated just prior to use."
Since 1991, groundwater from eleven wells within the Kaiaka-Waialua Hydrologic Unit Area (KW HUA) has been found to contain one or more of eight
NPSP substances (see “Well Vulnerability to Contamination;” “Land at Greater Risk of ‘Illness’ than People,” “More Groundwater Monitoring!..” “And More on Groundwater Contamination;” and “Our Ecological Health KW HUA News Vol 1 #2, Vol 2 #3 and Vol 2 #4 respectively). Like Pearl Harbor, contaminated groundwater in KW HUA is left contaminated, monitored and where feasible decontaminated prior to use.
Decontaminating groundwater as it is used is generally considered less expensive than remediation or prevention based on "treatment” cost analyses. “Environmental, ecological, soil fertility/productivity, lifestyle and use limitation costs associated with continued groundwater contamination dwarf treatment costs. Decontamination requires continuous vigilance and tolerance of ‘reasonable risk.’ We have yet to begin to determine the costs of living with 'acceptable levels' of pollutants," says Dr. Kimberly dark, Research Associate, UHM College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) Department of Agriculture and Resource Economy, and Oahu Coordinator for Hawaii Organic Farmer's Association (HOFA).
The public is increasingly demanding remediation of source water quality says Dr. Michael Cavanaugh, Chairman of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Groundwater. This is usually done by pumping groundwater to the surface, passing it through a decontamination system and returning it back into the ground. Such systems are in use at about 75% of approximately 4,000 impaired groundwater sites where federal efforts are involved. The panel noted that restoration of source waters to drinking water (but not necessarily more stringent, pre-impairment) standards, can take many years.
Prevention requires careful and determined land use regulation. "The first order of prevention is source control: whenever possible choosing to use no-chemical alternatives, and where unavoidable using the least persistent and mobile
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chemicals possible," says Philip Moravcik, WRRC. Widespread use of integrated pest management, best management practices under an approved Conservation Plan, and land use districting are the preventive "backbone" of the KW HUA project. Conservation Plans are provided at no cost by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Land use exemptions are reviewed and approved by West Oahu Soil and Water Conservation District (WOSCD) for cooperators. According to Dr. L. Stephen Lau, past WRRC Director, two especially important land use restrictions are the prohibition of underground injection of contaminants or contaminated water in coastal areas and establishment of well head protection areas within which potential contaminant usage is restricted or prohibited. But land use regulation within the KW HUA has not prevented current groundwater contamination and levels of dibromochloropropane (DBCP) in KW HUA groundwater have not significantly diminished despite strict use regulation implemented over a decade ago. P> "We believe that the broadest and possibly most effective strategy lies with an educated, responsible and outspoken public," says Raymond Funakoshi, Chairperson of the KW HUA Local Advisory Committee. "If you're interested, WE WANT you!"
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Can students like you make a difference?
Franklin G. Baleto (Space Grant College, University of Hawaii at Manoa), Daniel S. Janik (University of Hawaii at Manoa Marine Options Program Mentor), Steve Russell and Sherwood Maynard (University of Hawaii at Manoa Marine Options Program Education Specialists). To cite this articlue use: Baleto, FG et al. Contaminated Groundwater Wells in the Kaiaka-Waialua By Hydrologic Unit Area. Presented before the University of Hawaii at Manoa Marine Options Program Student Seminar Series, May, 1996 (abstract only).
Groundwater sampling data from North shore and Central Oahu were reviewed for the presence of Non-Point Source Pollution contamination specifically nutrients, pesticides, and other organic compounds.
Twenty-five wells at Thirteen well sites were identified falling into three groups: Agricultural NPSP #1 (Pineapple), Agricultural NPSP#2 (Sugar Cane) and NPSP #3 (Urban/Industrial). A total of fourteen contaminants were identified including DBCP (#1-Pineapple), Atrazine (#2-Sugar Cane) and TCE (#3-Urban/Industrial).
Organizations collecting, correlating, and verifying information were contacted to obtain and verify data. Computer data bases from ten participating agencies and organizations were examined, internet (World Wide Web) and Newspapers researched, and maps and agency references were examined for groundwater contamination-related information. A resource manual was prepared to assist community volunteers in creating a Groundwater Contamination Alert System.
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