LIHU’E – The county is moving forward with $6.5 million in upgrades to Waimea’s wastewater system.
The Kaua’i County Board has authorized the County Department of Public Works to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with the state Department of Health for a loan from the state’s Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund to the project.
These upgrades will establish the Waimea Wastewater Treatment Plant as an R-1 recycled water storage and distribution system. Different from drinking water, this recycled water can be used for irrigation purposes.
In Waimea, the idea is to bring this drought-tolerant water source to Waimea Athletic Field and Waimea Canyon Middle School in the first phase of the project, explained Jason Kagimoto, division chief of water management. worn out at council on Wednesday.
In 2013, the Waimea Wastewater Treatment Facility completed R-1 upgrades, and in 2019, upgrades to the Waimea Athletic Field Irrigation System were completed.
Waimea’s vision is to produce approximately 200,000 gallons per day for a 400,000 gallon storage tank and R-1 reclaimed water pumping and piping systems, Kagimoto said.
On other islands, this type of non-potable, non-potable water system typically irrigates golf courses, parks and playgrounds, schoolyards, sports fields, community center landscaping resort and food crops.
Already, the county provides water to the Hokuala Golf Course by channeling water into a pond which is then used to water the fairways.
Since June 2020, the county has paid $60,000 to Hartung Brothers to use approximately 200,000 gallons of R-2 recycled water per day for growing alfalfa.
“Hartung Brothers was already leasing land in the acreage recently purchased by the county,” Kagimoto said in an email when asked what kinds of discussions led to this partnership. “There was existing infrastructure that was already in place to provide the recycled water.”
Hartung Brothers received a $750,000 grant from the county’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act to establish livestock feed production infrastructure as well as livestock finishing equipment, and a big part of that is growing alfalfa, which the company sells commercially to ranchers.
That the county was paying for Hartung’s use raised eyebrows among council members.
Council member Billy DeCosta, a farmer himself, asked if the system would be able to support other farmers on the 400 acres, including whether the water would be suitable for taro farms, which are Westside favourites.
“It would be much better if we were in a different situation,” Kagimoto said during the meeting.
Later, in an email, Kagimoto clarified that the county was negotiating additional monthly costs, which come from the operating budget of the Division of Wastewater Management.
As part of the system, which is regulated by the Department of Health, regular safety practices will be implemented to ensure that no cross-contamination with drinking water systems will take place, as well as signs signs, special sprinkler hoses, color-coded hoses and valve boxes and training of irrigation system personnel, according to Kagimoto’s presentation.
The county expects a bid for construction in the first quarter.