Assessment of Cesspools on Hawaiian Home Lands

Assessment of Cesspools on Hawaiian Home Lands

Background: Governor David Ige signed Act 125 into law in 2017, requiring the upgrade, conversion, or sewer connection of all cesspools in the State before January 1, 2050. Officials approximate that there are approximately 88,000 cesspools statewide, with an estimated 2,500 of those on Hawaiian Home Lands. As a result, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands is assessing the usage of cesspools on Hawaiian Home Lands throughout the State.

What is a Cesspool? Cesspools are shallow underground systems used to dispose of untreated sanitary waste. The systems vary but largely consist of a concrete cylinder that has an open bottom and may include perforated sides. These systems are used to collect and then drain out sewage from toilets, sinks, and washing machines. The discharge of untreated waste into a cesspool can have a variety of negative potential impacts on human health, including the contamination of drinking water and probable damage to land or aquatic ecosystems.

Assessment Timeframe:

  • December 2021 through December 2022


  • Oʻahu – Fukunaga and Associates
  • Neighbor Islands – Hawaiʻi Engineering Group

Oʻahu Lessees:

Homesteaders in Nānākuli, Waiʻanae, and Waimānalo will be asked to complete a written survey to schedule a time for DHHL contractors to conduct visual, ground and aerial survey work in their subdivisions. DHHL has also provided an online response form, accessible below.

Neighbor Island Lessees:

Neighbor Island Homesteaders will receive mailed notifications to announce when DHHL contractors will be visiting their subdivisions to conduct visual, ground, and aerial survey work. Neighbor Island lessees can also complete an online survey found below.

Keaukaha Lessees:

Keaukaha Homesteaders will receive hand-delivered surveys from DHHL staff and community volunteers. Keaukaha lessees can also complete download and complete the survey found below.

For more information, please contact 808-620-9500