Grant to Big Isle aids sewer upgrade
Hawaii County will use a federal grant to replace large-capacity cesspools serving the plantation communities of Naalehu and Pahala, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials said this month.
With the $1.3 million grant, the county will replace the existing sewer lines serving about 2,400 people, according to the EPA. In addition, the large-capacity cesspools will be eliminated and replaced with community septic systems, an EPA news release said.
"Replacing these large cesspools that release raw sewage is a major step in protecting human health and the waters of Hawaii," said Alexis Strauss, director for the EPA's water division for the Pacific Southwest region.
"Mayor (Harry) Kim and his Hawaii County staff are committed to assisting the residents of the Big Island with replacing the many large cesspools around the island," Strauss said.
"I believe that the county is obligated to help the residents of Pahala and Naalehu by improving and taking ownership of the sewer system," Mayor Harry Kim said. "This EPA grant award will go a long way in accomplishing that and protecting the environment as well."
The deadline to close all large-capacity cesspools in the state was last April 5, the same day EPA regulations prohibited the construction of new large-capacity cesspools.
The regulations do not apply to single-family homes connected to their own cesspools.
Police, Fire, Courts
Crews search for swimmer near Portlock
The Honolulu Fire Department and Coast Guard searched by air and water yesterday for a 21-year-old Navy man who was last seen swimming off Portlock.
The search was expected to resume at first light today.
A Coast Guard helicopter searched until about 10 p.m. in waters from Portlock to Makapuu. The Honolulu Fire Department suspended its search yesterday at dusk and was to resume about 6 a.m. today, said Fire Capt. Kenison Tejada.
The search started about 3:30 p.m. It's unclear if the man was swimming with friends or alone.
3 injured in car crash on Saddle Road
One person was in critical condition and two others were treated and released early yesterday after the driver of a car apparently fell asleep while driving on the Big Island's Saddle Road.
The accident happened at 4:21 a.m. about 33 miles from Hilo, where Saddle Road passes through the Army's Pohaku Training Area.
Army emergency medical personnel responded and were bringing the three victims to Hilo in one of their ambulances.
Big Island Emergency Medical Service personnel met the Army ambulance on the road and transferred the patients to their vehicle and the hospital, police said.
Big Isle police seek missing 17-year-old
Big Island police are searching for a 17-year-old boy reported missing from his Kona residence since Thursday.
Police say Jesse Harris has blond hair and blue eyes, is about 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs about 130 pounds.
Anyone with information about Harris' whereabouts is asked to contact Officer James Lorenzo of Kona Patrol at 326-4646 ext. 253, or the police nonemergency telephone number at 935-3311.
Those who wish to remain anonymous may call CrimeStoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona.