Tag Archives: Board of Water Supply

A Glimpse of Oahu’s Water Source – Halawa Pumping Station

Halawa Pumping Station There is no doubt that water is important but sometimes we take it for granted thinking it will always be there. Like petroleum, one day fresh water will become a scarce resource. We assume that the artesian wells that provide Oahu's fresh water will continue to be productive but ever since they've been tapped, in the 1940's, the levels have been decreasing. I recently got a chance to revisit the Board of Water Supply's Halawa Pumping Station since the last time was quite a while ago.  Things haven't changed much. The trolley that takes you down the shaft still reminds me of a carnival ride.
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Halawa Shaft
What is amazing is the fresh water that sustains all of us resides in pools deep in the earth. The system that replenishes this supply is well understood. But as the demands on these water resources grow, whether it be population growth or development, you can see the water levels drop from the 1940s to present.
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Freshwater well
In addition to increased water usage there are the threats due to contamination. A recent revelation was the fuel storage facility located on Red Hill. These large containers of jet fuel are leaking and pose a threat to the Moanalua wells. Discussions for a remedy are ongoing between the BWS and Navy as this site visit might indicate, but it is still unclear what the solution is and a proposed settlement is still forthcoming. This will become an issue if not already. You can familiarize yourself with this project by reviewing the Administrative Order on Consent and the Statement of Work along with an archive of supporting documentation I helped to produce in collaboration with the Board of Water Supply.

Red Hill Administrative Order #opendata

tanks July 20th was the deadline for public comment on the Red Hill Fuel Tank Administrative Order. The EPA and State Dept of Health sought feedback from the public regarding the fuel tank storage tanks and plans to minimize the fuel leaks from the tanks. It is now up to the EPA and DOH to decide whether or not to sign the Administrative Order on Consent with the U.S. Navy to make it effective or to modify it base on information received during the public comment period. The Board of Water Supply released the following comments and a summary of the comments on July 20, 2015: Here is testimony from Ernest Lau, Manager and Chief Engineer at the Board of Water Supply at the June 18, 2015 public meeting. Hawaii Open Data, the non-profit I started to advance the principles for open data helped to make many of the documents relating to the Red Hill Fuel Tank project, accessible to the public. This is important in that the bulk of these documents were not going to be make electronically available and only physically accessible to the public. The document repository contains more that 400 documents that are text searchable. The original files were pdf scans which we were able to OCR and make text searches available. This historical archive provides easy access to the large body of work that reveals the fuel tanks leaks and the potential effects on the Moanalua-Waimalu aquifer affecting 25% of Oahu's population. The next step is to see if the EPA and DOH sign the agreement (AOC) with the U.S. Navy. More to come.