An Ewa farm has been ordered by the state Health Department to cease the sale of basil because it was using unapproved pesticide.
The basil will be destroyed today at FAT Law’s Farm three-acre farm in Ewa. The farm also maintains a farm in Kunia.
FAT Law’s Farm, Inc. was notified Tuesday to cease the sale of all suspect basil after test revealed the presence of the pesticide methomyl. There is a zero tolerance for methomyl on basil, a pesticide that is not approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for use on basil.
Basil samples were collected on FAT’s Ewa farm on April 12. The results received from the state laboratory on April 16 indicated a range of 0.045 to 3.49 parts per million (ppm) of methomyl.
Additional samples from the Kunia farm were collected on Tuesday and analyzed for the presence of methomyl. Results received on Thursday indicated a range from non-detectable to 0.507 ppm of methomyl on the basil.
No basil will be allowed to be sold by the farm until subsequent samples indicate zero levels of methomyl.
The Health Department believes that the basil crops tested on April 12 and 17 may have been distributed to consumers in Hawaii. However, since the pesticide is allowed in greater amounts on other crops, the department does not consider the situation to be a significant threat to public health. Methomyl is approved by the EPA for use on a variety of vegetables and has an allowable range from 1 ppm for tomatoes up to 6 ppm for parsley leaves. There is a zero tolerance for methomyl on basil.
Attorneys for Earthjustice announced Wednesday they had filed a notice of intent to sue Maui County over alleged violations of the Clean Water Act at the Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility.
The notice claims that the county has known for years that treated wastewater injected into the ground at the facility percolates into the ocean nearby, but has not made good on promises to phase out the injection wells or obtained a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit to allow the discharge.
It also states that, although the wastewater receives some treatment, it still contains bacteria that presents health risks to ocean users, as well as nitrogen and other nutrients that can stimulate reef-smothering algae blooms offshore.
County officials said they were operating the treatment plant under permits from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state Department of Health, and had been working cooperatively with state and federal officials to make sure they were in compliance with all their permit conditions.
Part of that cooperation includes conducting tracer and seep studies to determine if a discharge permit is needed for the facility, they said, noting that the EPA had not yet determined if such a permit was required.
This the a bit different from the Off Deadline column in today’s print edition. The editors took out the joke about vitamin C, and I’ve put it back in.
Psst! Wanna know a secret? The environmentalists don’t want you to hear this, but corals eat sewage. Really. They love the stuff. The Maui Wastewater Working Group held 13 meetings to convict treated sewage put down injection wells of killing reefs. It’s too bad they didn’t take a field trip to the Central Laboratory at the Kihei Wastewater Treatment Plant to see some effluent in action. Such visits are discouraged by the health monitors, but my wife does the testing and I’ve watched her. There are several tests, but the relevant one for injection wells puts a sample of treated wastewater – the PC name for sewage – through a centrifuge, which deposits whatever sewage is left on circles of glistening white filter paper. Filter is the key word here. Corals (and marine worms and lots of other reef critters) are filter feeders. The Kihei and Lahaina plants make R1 effluent, the good stuff, while Kahului makes R2, not as clean. Usually, when the plant is functioning well (which is most of the time), on most of the discs I cannot tell any difference between the clean and the sampled filter paper. On a few, there may be the faintest brown tinge. It takes a magnifying glass to tell sometimes.
Welcome to Fixes.
This is a series about solutions, or potential solutions, to real world problems. It focuses on the line between failure and success, drawing on the stories of people who have crossed it.
Most of us tend to be better informed about problems than solutions. This presents two challenges: if we rarely hear about success when it occurs, it’s hard to believe that problems can, in fact, be solved. Also, knowledge about how to solve problems ends up being concentrated in too few hands. It needs to circulate more broadly so that it can be applied where needed.