Clean Water for Reefs Puakō


Clean Water for Reefs Puakō is a community-driven project that seeks to address wastewater pollution on the Puakō Reef. Wastewater pollution is found off the entire coast of Puakō and causes serious damage to corals, negatively affects marine wildlife and poses human health risks.

The Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL) facilitates the Clean Water for Reefs Puakō project alongside a formal Advisory Committee, which includes researchers, industry experts and community representatives, to ensure there is a broad and collective voice.

In August of 2015, a formal recommendation was put forth with the most cost-effective solution and best environmental results for the Puakō community and its reef—an onsite treatment facility.

Now we need to determine if the estimated costs are a feasible solution. Please contact us to voice your support or concerns.

The Issue

Puakō’s shoreline is polluted. Local impacts such as leaky cesspools and septic tanks release raw sewage along the Puakō shoreline. This effluent contains nutrients and pathogens which can cause human health issues and negatively impacts the Puakō Reef. Research conducted by University of Hawai`i and The Nature Conservancy along the Puakō shoreline between 2014-2016 found:

  • 91 percent of sites had medium to high pollution scores
  • 76 percent of sites exceeded Hawai`i Department of Health standard for bacteria found in sewage
  • 66 percent of sites had high nutrient levels

Please see “What’s in our Water” for more information.

The Solution

After an in-depth review of the Preliminary Engineering Report that was publicly released in 2016, the Advisory Committee, AQUA Engineering and CORAL put forth a formal recommendation to pursue an onsite treatment facility.

The Benefits

  • Prevents 100 percent of Puakō and Waialea Bay sewage from polluting the ocean
    • Eliminates human health risk from pathogens
    • Eliminates nearly all local sewage impacts to the reef
  • Least costly solution over a 40-year lifecycle compared with the other option
  • Provides a long-term solution, safeguarding Puakō’s health for future generations

The Estimated Costs

Click here for the estimated annual costs and more information.

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