USDA offers grant-loan combo for Puna neighborhood water repairs


The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded $1.9 million in federal funding to the Hawaiian Shores Community Association of Puna.

The funding — a $1 million grant and nearly $900,000 loan through the Rural Development program — will help the community group repair and replace tanks, pumps and piping, as well as upgrade valves and electrical equipment, all of which was damaged by Tropical Storm Iselle, Sen. Brian Schatz’s office said Tuesday.

“Hawaiian Shores Community Association (HSCA) is thrilled to receive this loan and grant combination award from the USDA’s Rural Development program. Primary components of our small private water system, such as the 85,000-gallon holding tank, are over 40 years old and failing,” said Eileen O’Hara, President of the Hawaiian Shores Community Association. “The recent encounter with Hurricane/Storm Iselle exposed additional weaknesses of our private water system, which is worn out and undersized to serve the needs of our growing community. HSCA wouldn’t be able to afford the needed repairs and upgrades without this award and we are especially grateful to Sen. Brian Schatz for his assistance in ensuring this funding was approved in the current federal fiscal year.”