Daily News Archive
From October 6, 2005                                                                                                           

Pesticides Found in Well Water of East Maui Development
(Beyond Pesticides, October 6, 2005)
Well water located under old pineapple fields in East Maui has been found to be contaminated by pesticides. The Oregon based developers Holt & Everhart, are testing the well water in order to begin development of the land they purchased three years ago. The development project will divide the land into 15 four-acre parcels for purchase while setting aside the remaining 180 acres for agriculture.

In response to the alarming findings, Holt & Everhart has decided to pump water out of the well until decontaminated water is found. The developers are unsure how much water they will need to pump in order to decontaminate the well. Stephen Gingerich, a hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, is unsure whether the pumping will be effective. Mr. Gingerich pointed out that the well is either “contaminated from their drilling process and they'll clean it out, or the lower aquifer is contaminated from years of agriculture.” If the latter scenario proves true, then no amount of pumping will solve the immediate problem.

Furthermore, dumping of the contaminated water that is pumped out of the well must be taken into consideration. Dumping water into the ocean is prohibited by the Department of Health Clean Water Branch, but Holt & Everhart claim they will store the water in large retention basins on the property.

The contamination of groundwater as a result of pesticide heavy agriculture would not be an anomaly for Hawaii. Two wells in Hamakuapoko have been contaminated due for the same reason as a result of years of sugarcane farming.

Source: The Maui News

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