Subject: water pollution in Hawaii

Please provide information on water pollution in Hawaii

   I will describe groundwater pollution; you may address surface water (i.e., streams) pollution to others. One of the well known cases, however, concerns the Ala Wai Canal, which is contaminated by surface water runoff (that is water which runs above ground following rainfall).
   Groundwater is the major source of water use of Hawaii. Major sources of pollution are:

  1. Agriculture chemical applications (such as the rise in nitrate concentration in the groundwater of the Pearl Harbor aquifer). The nitrate concentration has not exceeded the maximum allowable limit, however.
  2. Military bases (such as soil and groundwater TCE contamination at Schofiel Barracks site, which has been added to the Superfund list)
  3. Service stations (such as the Gray Line Hawaii, Kalewa St.) Contamination does not threaten the drinking water because the site is not connected to such a water.
  4. Accidental spills of chemicals (such as the site at the Del Monte well in the Kunia area, which also is in the Superfund list).

    The superfund list is prepared by the Federal government, where a site is considered a threat to public health. The local Board of Water Supply and Department of Health are responsible for monitoring water quality and protecting the public from harmful chemicals. Please contact them for additional information.

Dr. Aly El-Kadi, Associate Professor, Hydrogeology
Department of Geology and Geophysics
University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI 96822

Return to the Ask-An-Earth-Scientist © page