That Maui Rotten Egg Smell


Maui Rotten Egg Smell

If you've driven from Lahaina to Wailuku lately, you've probably noticed the rotten-egg stench encountered some three miles outside of town at Launiupoko Point.

This odorific assault is produced by the six million gallons of brackish water released daily into the ocean by Pioneer Mill.

According to Mike Nelson, Pioneer Mill factory superindendent, the plant uses some 11 million gallons of water each day for washing sugar cane delivered from the fields, and for cooling purposes.

Nelson said this water, which contains decomposing sugar residue and a variety of complex compounds, first passes through one of the two primary settling ponds situated near the plant.

It is then pumped through a ditch which tapers from Pioneer Mill toward the ocean at Launiupoko. Just before being released, the water collects in a second settling basin above the road-which accounts for the smell.

With most of the dirt removed, six million gallons of the black water flows out to sea. The other five million gallons are diluted with fresh water and used for irrigation.

Nelson said all of the water could not be used for irrigation because of the high salt content.

Pioneer Mill holds a State discharge permit, which allows the company to release the water into the ocean. If the mill releases water which is too highly toxic, the permit may be revoked, and the operation must cease.

Water samplings are being taken twice-monthly and sent to Honolulu for analysis. The State Dept. of Health then reviews the findings.

As a condition for the issuance of the permit, Pioneer Mill must complete a water recycling system by Dec. 31, 1974, Nelson said, and end the discharge of waste water now taking place.

Construction cost is expected to run between $375,000 and $400,000. The cost will be borne by the company.

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