Cesspool Pilot Grant Program (CPGP)

Our waitlist of applicants has been filled! Thank you for the overwhelming amount of interest in the grant program. Due to the limited amount of applicants that can take part in the pilot program and the long waitlist, we are no longer receiving applications for the grant program. Thank you again for your patience as we continue to help qualifying applicants complete the grant program.

Table of Contents


Click this link to download a PDF version


The purpose of this grant program is to assist low‐ and moderate‐income property owners with converting, upgrading or connecting cesspools to a more environmentally appropriate method of managing and treating wastewater.

Available Funds:

  • Each grant recipient is eligible to receive up to $20,000 in reimbursements for their cesspool conversion or connection costs incurred.
  • Grant program will have a total of $5 million and be allocated on a first‐come, first‐served basis, subject to funding availability. The submit date of a complete application will determine applicant’s priority to receive the available funding.

Eligibility Requirements:

  1. Applicant must be an owner of real property or a Department of Hawaiian Homelands (DHHL) lessee.
  2. Subject cesspool must be in either a priority level 1 or 2 area as identified by the University of Hawaii’s 2021 Hawaii Cesspool Hazard Assessment and Prioritization Tool (HCHAPT). To check if you are in the priority areas use the following map tool:

    or download a list of eligible TMKs based on county:
    When searching for the TMK of a Condominium Property Regime (CPR), please search for only the first nine-digits of the TMK.

    – City and County of Honolulu – List of Eligible TMKs – pdf
    – Kauai County – List of Eligible TMKs – pdf
    – Maui County – List of Eligible TMKs – pdf
    – Hawaii County – List of Eligible TMKs – pdf
  3. Household income of applicant, based on the owner or lessee’s federal tax return of the most recent taxable year that has closed, cannot exceed 140% of the area median income (AMI) as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Please click here for additional instructions.
  4. Cesspools that have been upgraded or converted to an Individual Wastewater System (IWS) that has an Approval-To-Use date or connected to a sewage system prior to July 1, 2022, are not eligible for reimbursement under this CPGP.
  5. If you meet all the eligibility criteria: Please complete and submit a grant application to the Department of Health. Department staff will review your application and will notify you if: (1) your application is complete; and (2) you are eligible to receive the grant.
  6. If it is determined that you are eligible to receive a grant, the applicant will be required to submit the documents listed below to the Department within nine (9) months of receiving a Grant Qualification Letter notifying you that you are eligible to receive the grant. Please be aware that the IWS must be installed and approved for use within nine (9) months to qualify for this grant reimbursement.
  7. a. Design plans prepared by a licensed engineer (ENGINEER) must comply with HAR chapter 11-62 for IWS or applicable utility standards for sewer connection and be approved by the Director of Health.
    b. ENGINEER’s final construction inspection report (w/ photos, as-builts and certification) that the individual wastewater system was constructed in accordance with design plans approved by the Director of Health.
    c. A copy of an approval to use letter of the wastewater system issued by the Director of Health; and
    d. Receipts of payment made to the licensed engineer and licensed contractor.

Applications will be posted here and physical copies will be available at our offices starting March 15, 2023.
Applications will NOT be accepted via email! All applications must be submitted in person to one of our offices or mailed to our Oahu office.
A copy of the applicant’s 1040 Federal Tax Return are needed with each application.
Please note that we will NOT be accepting photos of tax returns. See the FAQ below for more details.
For additional information regarding the upgrade process, you can access step-by-step information by going to our home page and clicking on “Homeowner Resources” under the “Individual Wastewater Systems” section, or you can go to the following link:

How to Determine your Household Area Median Income?

Click this link to download a PDF version

Step 1

Create a list of the number of adults and children (all household members) that occupy the home.

Step 2

Collect 1040 Federal Tax Returns for the most recent year for all household members generating income.

Step 3

Determine each household member’s income by using the ADJUSTED GROSS INCOME on the 1040 Federal Tax Return.

Step 4

Add together the adjusted gross income for all household members to determine the Total Household Income.

Step 5

Review chart below and determine whether Total Household Income is equal or less than the income of a family of the same size earning 140% AMI.
2021 – 140% Area Median Income (AMI)
Family Size (# of Persons)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Hawaii County $84,000 $95,900 $107,940 $119,840 $129,500 $139,020 $148,680 $158,200
Maui County $101,360 $115,780 $130,200 $144,620 $156,240 $167,860 $179,340 $190,960
Kauai County $99,960 $106,080 $119,340 $132,470 $143,130 $153,790 $164,320 $174,980
City & County of Honolulu $118,440 $135,380 $152,320 $169,120 $182,700 $196,280 $209,720 $223,300

2022 – 140% Area Median Income (AMI)
Family Size (# of Persons)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Hawaii County $93,380 $106,680 $119,980 $133,280 $144,060 $154,700 $165,340 $175,980
Maui County $111,860 $127,820 $143,780 $159,740 $172,620 $185,360 $198,100 $210,980
Kauai County $111,720 $127,680 $143,340 $159,600 $172,480 $185,220 $197,960 $210,700
City & County of Honolulu $128,100 $146,300 $164,640 $182,840 $197,540 $212,000 $226,800 $241,360

Information for Qualifying Applicants

If you received a Grant Qualification Letter that means you qualify to receive the reimbursement. Only about 200 Grant Qualification Letters were sent due to the limited funding available for this pilot program. If you have not received a letter yet, please note that we are maintaining a waitlist and if a new spot opens up, we will send a Grant Qualification Letter to the next person on the list.

For those of you who have received the Grant Qualification, first of all, Congratulations!! The Department is aware of the financial burden that these upgrades impose on homeowners and we are happy to provide this grant program. Please read the letter and the Hawaii Cesspool Compliance Pilot Grant Agreement. After reading both, if you choose to proceed with the grant, please sign the Hawaii Cesspool Compliance Pilot Grant Agreement, make a copy for your records and then send us the signed original Agreement in full (i.e., all three (3) pages) via mail or in person to our Oahu office. If you choose to not proceed with the grant, please notify our office so that we can free up the spot for a different applicant.

As written in Section 2.1(a), the upgrade or connection must be completed within 270 days of receiving the Grant Qualification Letter. The Department is aware that wastewater system installations and connections, like other construction projects, are occasionally subject to delays that are outside of the owner’s control. The Department wants to support homeowners in their efforts to upgrade their wastewater systems and will do its best to work with homeowners who experience these types of delays.

Please be sure to make a copy of all your documents and receipts. We are still in the process of finalizing the reimbursement procedures, but once complete and we receive your documents and receipts (as required by the Hawaii Cesspool Compliance Pilot Grant Agreement), the reimbursement will take 3 to 4 months to process through the State’s internal systems. Thank you for your continued patience and cooperation as we work to carry out this Pilot Grant Program.

Supplemental Informational Training Video

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How were the priority areas chosen?

With the cooperation of the University of Hawaii, the Cesspool Conversion Working Group (CCWG), and the Department of Health (DOH), a detailed ranking was developed that considers multiple risks including risks to environment, sensitive ecosystems, human health, etc. This detailed ranking was then used to create a cumulative score for areas defined by the pre-defined geographic boundaries of the United States Census. The results of this study are detailed in the 2021 Hawaii Cesspool Hazard Assessment and Prioritization Tool (HCHAPT).

The areas with the highest priorities (i.e., Level 1 and 2) were prioritized for the purposes of this pilot grant program.

For further information regarding the HCHAPT, please visit https://seagrant.soest.hawaii.edu/cesspools-tool/ for more details.

Are properties owned under a trust eligible for the grant?

Yes, the applicant should be one of the owners under the trust and the eligibility requirement related to the AMI should be calculated based on the applicants 1040 Federal Tax Return.

I want to submit my application by mail, will a delay in mail delivery hurt my chances of receiving the grant reimbursement?

We understand that this is a concern given the first-come, first-serve basis of the program. To account for this, the Department will use the postmark date on mailed applications to determine the time of submission.

When submitting a copy of my tax return for the application, can I just submit a photo of the tax return?

Unfortunately, no, we will not be accepting photos of tax returns. We need to ensure that the copy of the tax return is legible. If you need to access a copy machine, please note that Hawaii State Public Libraries offer copying services: https://www.librarieshawaii.org/how-do-i/use-the-library/make-copies/.

How long will it take for my initial application to be processed?

It will take us about one (1) month to process application forms due to limited departmental resources. We appreciate your patience and understanding regarding this matter.

How many grants will be given?

The number of grants that will be given is based on the available funds. After adjusting for administrative costs, the number of available grants is currently capped at 225. We will be maintaining a limited waitlist for the program as well.

How will the reimbursement be given? How long will this take?

The reimbursement will be sent in the form of a check addressed to the grant recipient. Please allow two to three months for the processing and delivery of the reimbursement.

Would the reimbursement count towards my income for the purposes of my federal and state tax returns?

At this moment, we are still unsure. Please contact your tax advisor for assistance.

What happens to my application and tax returns, which has sensitive personal information?

After your application is processed, the sensitive information will be redacted and then shredded. Non-sensitive information will be retained to track applications and process reimbursement.