Cesspool Disposal - Waste water by the numbers

  • Your Cesspool and the Environment

    If you have a cesspool, you could be harming the environment.

    Untreated sewage from homes with cesspools can leak into the ground and nearby waters.

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  • Cesspool Sewage Water Leaks Into Ground

    Cesspools are basically a hole to store waste and provide no primary treatment of sewage which enters the soils below.

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  • Bacteria and Chemicals Leak Into Groundwater

    That's a problem because bacteria, chemicals, and nutrients like nitrogen can leak into our groundwater.

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  • Water Sourced from Underground

    Because we live on an island, we rely on underground aquifers for drinking water

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  • Other Water Sources

    Groundwater is also connected to the ocean, through something called submarine groundwater discharge.

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  • Cesspool Pollution Carried to Reefs

    Pollution from cesspools containing chemicals and nutrients can be carried to coral reefs by this water.

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  • Destruction of Reefs and Health Concerns

    Cesspool pollution carried to reefs can lead to coral death, algae overgrowth, and human health concerns when swimming or surfing in the ocean.

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  • Septic Tank Wastewater Reclamation Facility By The Numbers


    100% of resident wastewater is discharged into groundwater for residents using cesspool disposal.


    Cesspool Disposal Flow and Nutrient Summary

    Ave. septic flow/resident (gallons/year)Ave. septic flow/resident (gallons/day)injected TN concentration (mg/L)injected TP concentration (mg/L)Total leach nutrients / resident / year (lbs/year)
    37,261 102 < 90 < 20 < 34

    The estimated yearly discharge per resident into cesspools is about 37K gallons or about 100 gallons per day. Total Nitrogen is estimated to be less than 90 mg/L and Total Phosphorous less than 20 mg/L. Hawaii Department of Health
    estimates of cesspool effluent water quality can be found here.


    Cesspool Disposal Coliform Cell Counts per Resident

    coliform cell counts (MPN/100mL)total coliform cell counts / resident (MPN/year)
    < 100,000,000 < 141,047,621,543,996

    Fecal coliform Most Probable Number of colony forming (infection forming) units in cesspool effluent is estimated to be less than 100 Million MPN. Total injected fecal coliform colony forming units per resident is estimated to be less than 141 Trillion cells per year. Hawaii Department of Health estimates of cesspool effluent water quality can be found here.

How does the water I flush affect our reefs?