KCH moves forward on supplemental wastewater treatment facility

KCH moves forward on supplemental wastewater treatment facility

By LAURA RUMINSKI West Hawaii Today | Friday, June 9, 2023, 12:05 a.m.

Kona Community Hospital is one step closer to constructing a wastewater treatment system.

In a letter to the Office of Planning and Sustainable Development Environmental Review Program,Clayton Mcghan, KCH CEO said the Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) assesses the potential effects of constructing and operating the proposed project.

“Kona Community Hospital, as the proposing and approving agency, anticipates that the proposed action is not likely to have a significant effect and therefore is issuing a notice of an Anticipated Finding of No Significant Impact, subject to the public review provisions of HAR Section 11-200.1-20,” the letter states.

According to the DEA, KCH is proposing a redundant wastewater treatment system with a capacity of 50,000 gallons-per-day (gpd) to supplement its existing 50,000-gpd system, which requires a shutdown to perform critical repair and maintenance. Because hospital operations must not be disrupted, KCH will divert the wastewater flow to the redundant system while the existing system is offline, and whenever future maintenance is needed.

The project will be timed to minimize effects to medical facility operations, personnel and patients. The project would not adversely affect surface water or groundwater. No valuable natural or cultural resource would be committed or lost at the quarter-acre grassed/paved project site through construction and use of additional wastewater treatment system facilities at the hospital.

KCH has determined that its wastewater treatment system (WWTS) requires a shutdown to perform critical repair and maintenance in order to continue effective operation. The hospital was built in 1975 and after many renovations is now a full service hospital with services including acute inpatient medical/surgical, obstetrics, skilled nursing, intensive care, and outpatient surgery.

The project would build a second, redundant WWTS with a capacity of 50,000 gpd. Once the redundant system is fully operational, repairs to the existing system can be conducted.

A nearby seepage pit area previously permitted for emergency use will be used for the absorption process during the brief time required for the diversion of the influent to the new system. After that, the systems will be capable of being operated alternately. Current demand can be filled with just one system operational at a time, and there are no immediate significant expansion plans at KCH that would generate substantially more wastewater.

The entire construction area will be less than a quarter-acre.