Saturday, January 2, 1999

Capitol hunts
way to cut
pool costs

A mix of fish, as at Blaisdell
ponds, may not work, a
state official says

By Craig Gima


Gov. Ben Cayetano has asked state Comptroller Ray Sato to "be creative" and come up with a way to cut the cost of controlling algae in the state Capitol's reflecting pools.

"We're looking into all kinds of alternatives, but we haven't decided yet," Sato said.

"Some of my staff are looking into brainstorming and coming up with different ideas on how we can handle this situation."

He added that draining the pools is not under consideration at this time.

The Star-Bulletin reported on Monday that the state spends $74,100 a year in an unsuccessful attempt to keep algae out of the pools around the Capitol.

That's more than double the $31,000 a year the state spent when there were tilapia in the pools, before the Capitol renovation.

It's also more than 10 times the $7,200 the city spends annually to clean its ponds around the Blaisdell Center.

Sato said creating a "balanced environment" with algae-eating fish and predator fish to control both populations may not work as well at the Capitol as it does at Blaisdell.

He said the pools at Blaisdell are more like ponds and do not have to be as clean as the Capitol pools.

"The Blaisdell has deep sections where you can have larger fish survive," he said. "This is a reflecting pool that is rather shallow, and there's no place for fish to hide, and it's not their kind of environment."

Sato said he was told the Department of Accounting and General Services applied for a special permit to dump water with fish droppings into storm drains that lead to the ocean, but it was too difficult to obtain.

Without the permit, required by the Federal Clean Water Act, the state cannot install fish.

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