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DOH offers pesticide workshop


Stephens Media Hawaii

Last year, state health officials adopted new rules regarding pesticide application when the chemical may end up in state waters.

The Department of Health’s Clean Water Branch is hosting a statewide workshop, available on Hawaii Island via video teleconference in Hilo, on the new permitting process. Farmers, developers and landscapers may need to apply for the pesticides general permit, said Lori Sun, from the DOH’s planning office.

“Even conservation people want to know,” Sun said. “It’s really for anyone who would be applying substances into state waters.”

Those people may not need a permit, depending on the amount of pesticide, insecticide or other chemical they’re using, though, Sun said. Hawaii Administrative Rules Chapter 11-55, appendix M, lays out the exact circumstances in which someone needs a permit, as well as when someone must file a notice of intent to apply for the permit. The lengthy appendix — it runs to about 70 typed pages — and the rules can be somewhat complicated, as can the definition of state waters, Sun said.

The Clean Water Branch said state waters may include, but are not limited to coastal waters, streams, rivers, lakes, wetlands, flooded agricultural fields (e.g., taro or watercress fields), springs and mud flats; ditches, flumes, ponds and reservoirs that are not part of a water pollution control system; and ditches, flumes, ponds, and reservoirs that overflow into another state water. State waters may also include concrete lined drainage canals, dry streams or gulches, and intermittent streams.

Sun said she has received a significant amount of interest from Hawaii Island residents. She said the department may offer another workshop, with a focus on how the permit might affect conservation activities, because many conservation groups are attending another function the day of the workshop and won’t be able to attend.

The workshop is set for 9 a.m. July 18, with an hourlong informational session, followed by an hour for questions and answers. The Big island video conference site is the DOH Environmental Health Facility, 1582 Kamehameha Ave., Hilo. This is next to Coqui’s Hideaway Restaurant.

Email Erin Miller at emiller@westhawaiitoday.com.


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