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DOH receives EPA award for performance and innovation

MEDIA RELEASE

HONOLULU – The Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH) has received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) national PISCES Award for dedication and exceptional program management, creative outreach initiatives, and ability to exceed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s (ARRA) Green Project Reserve requirements. The PISCES or Performance and Innovation in the State Revolving Fund Creating Environmental Success Award is presented each year to one state or county from each of EPA’s ten regions in the U.S. The 2009 award presented to Hawai‘i in December recognizes the accomplishments of DOH’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) Program. This program provides low interest loans to county governments to expand and rehabilitate wastewater infrastructure.

Four years ago, the CWSRF program was faced with the challenge of improving a 68 percent funding or participation rate and decided to drastically cut its interest rate and loan fee for a total loan cost of 0.75 percent. This offer encouraged the four counties to increase their participation and boosted the funding rate to 95 percent for the 2009 state fiscal year.

Hawai‘i’s CWSRF Program, administered under the DOH Wastewater Branch, has also allocated 42 percent of economic stimulus funds from the American Recover and Reinvestment Act to support “green projects,” more than double the federal 20 percent requirement.

These green projects include:

  • Maui County’s replacement of old sewage pumps with energy-efficient ones (guaranteed to reduce energy costs by 20 percent), and strengthening the structure of the County’s Wailuku-Kahului Treatment Plant to provide for coastal adaptation, sustainability, and protection against tsunami threats;
  • Kaua‘i County’s expansion of its Waimea Wastewater Treatment Plant capacity, upgrading the facility to produce R-1 quality reusable water, and installing photovoltaic cells to reduce energy costs;
  • Hawai‘i County’s closure of large capacity cesspools (LCCs) in the Komohana Heights, Honoka‘a, and Queen Lili‘uokalani Village areas, which will enable compliance with the federal ban on LCCs; and
  • Honolulu’s Waimalu Sewer project, which was the first of the ARRA projects to start construction in July 2009 and is progressing with its microtunneling operations. “We’re very pleased that the EPA has recognized our efforts to increase program participation and assist counties in making their wastewater plants more energy efficient and sustainable,” said Laurence Lau, Deputy Director for Environmental Health, “The CWSRF Program continues to make every effort to expedite funding of ARRA projects.”

For more information on the CWSRF Program: hawaii.gov/health/environmenta…

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