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Department of Health announces pilot cesspool grant program

Posted on Mar 3, 2023 in Newsroom

HONOLULU, HI – The Department of Health (DOH) announces a pilot cesspool grant program to assist qualified property owners with upgrading or converting their cesspools, or connecting to an available sewage system. This grant program was established via Act 153 (2022). 

Act 125 (2017) mandates all cesspools be upgraded by the year 2050 to comply with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements. DOH recognizes that the requirement to upgrade or convert a cesspool imposes a financial burden on low and moderate-income families. The purpose of this grant program is to assist such property owners, including lessees on Hawaiian Home Lands. Each grant recipient can receive up to $20,000 in reimbursements for their cesspool conversion or connection costs.

To qualify, cesspools must be in a priority level 1 or 2 area, as identified by the University of Hawai‘i’s cesspool hazard assessment and prioritization tool. The tool can be accessed at: In addition, the applicant’s household income shall not exceed 140% of the Area Median Income (AMI), as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

DOH Deputy Director for Environmental Health, Kathleen Ho, states, “This is truly an exciting program that will go a long way to help qualified applicants and, in turn, provide a healthier environment for future generations. I strongly recommend eligible households apply.”

Grant awards will be on a first-come, first-served basis, subject to funding availability.

For more information about the cesspool grant program, please visit or call (808) 586-4294. Applications for the grant program will be available on March 15, 2023.

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