Dr. Rick Bennett has been in heated conversations with heads of the Hawaii County Department of Environmental Management for years, concerned about the wastewater treatment plants around the island. For years he–and others– have been urging the County to upgrade the plants. Kona side, the partially treated sewage is discharged into a hole in the ground by the Kona Police station. He says it’s 1 to 2 million gallons per day, and because water flows downhill, it flows the mile or less towards the coast. Hilo side, the wastewater goes a few miles out into Hilo Bay, and that Bay has been affected. In addition, the County is under EPA mandates to provide wastewater treatment plants in some island areas because of pollution issues.
Dr. Bennett had the chance to work with two other water experts (Rick Gaffney, Steve Holmes) and help Mayor Mitch Roth find candidates for the all-important post of Director of the Department of Environmental Management.
In a conversation with Island Conversations host Sherry Bracken, in her final podcast for New West Broadcasting, Dr. Bennett talks about watersheds, wastewater plants, the newly-appointed head of the County Department of Environmental Management (Ramzi Monsour) and why he is the “right guy,” and more.
Photo of Dr. Rick Bennett courtesy Dr. Bennett.