Saddle drilling project gets FONSI


The University of Hawaii ruled a drilling project in the Humuula saddle region will not have a significant environmental impact, according to a final environmental assessment published Tuesday.

The project aims to get a better understanding of the “groundwater system contained within Mauna Kea: to confirm the extent of the new aquifers identified in the Saddle by the initial test hole; to document the geologic structures overall as well as those that impact the groundwater system on the western flank of the Saddle; and to conduct sampling and analysis of water samples in order to determine their source(s), their chemical compositions, and their ages/residence times in the Saddle aquifer(s). … In order for one to manage the groundwater resources in this region, we need to understand the extent of the resource, the source of the recharge into the system, and the residence times of the water within the aquifers underlying the Saddle region,” the document said.

Researchers working on an earlier drilling project found an aquifer at a higher elevation than expected.