An Interview with Pacific Blue Catchment Founder, Corey Yeaton
In April 2021, a large landslide cut off the headwaters for Kohala Ditch, a major water source for north Hawaiʻi. Many farmers, ranchers, and landowners in the area were suddenly without water, scrambling to figure out what to do with dozens of thirsty cows and horses. Corey Yeaton, owner and founder of Pacific Blue Catchment, got a call from one such family on a Thursday. By Monday, Corey and his team had gotten the family set up with a 2,500 gallon tank to capture rainwater off the roof of their home. Today, with upgrades to their system, the family is now catching 26,000 gallons of rainwater off their roof and are totally self reliant. They have been able to bring all their livestock back to their property and no longer worry about water.
They are confident they can make it through the Kohala dry season.
In ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi, ‘wai’ means freshwater, while ‘waiwai’ translates to wealth. This is certainly no linguistic accident. When you live on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, freshwater is an especially valuable resource.
Here in West Hawaiʻi, many people are connected to county water, which is sourced from a series of wells. Our groundwater reservoir is replenished by the rain, which filters through the porous lava rock beneath our feet. If you’ve ever been in the ocean, you’ve probably felt this ice cold fresh water seeping out from beneath the sand. We are fortunate to have this reservoir of freshwater. However, distributing the water to a growing population on a rugged volcanic island presents its own challenges.
“Don’t be a drain, catch the rain” is Pacific Blue Catchment’s cheeky tagline. With so many people moving to Hawaiʻi in the last decade, the county water system is overburdened. In addition, people that live mauka of the highway experience poor water pressure due to the steep elevation. Other more remote areas cannot get county water at all. Unlike some places on the mainland, the cost of drilling a well through lava rock is prohibitive for property owners.
Rainwater catchment is an alternative that many property and business owners are turning to as a way to take control of their water supply and reduce their environmental footprint. “Catchment is like solar power in that it gives you a level of autonomy,” says Corey. If a well fails and the county issues water rationing, you don’t have to worry. If rates go up, you don’t have to worry. You have your own water supply.
Tracing the Source
When I ask Corey about the inspiration for Pacific Blue Catchment, he says it was all about “being at the right place, at the right time.” The place was in Ocean View on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi, and the time was 2008. Corey had recently moved home to Hawaiʻi after earning a BS in Environmental Resource Science at the University of California, Davis and was working for his brother’s pool business. Driving around servicing pools, he couldn’t help but notice a huge need by residents that was going unmet: help with their water catchment systems.
He started small, developing a “tank route” between Kona and Ocean View where he’d check the PH of residents’ water tanks, clean dirty tanks, and perform maintenance like changing filters and liners. “There were a lot of times I’d be responding to calls at 8 or 9 pm at night,” says Corey. He answered his phone, listened, and met the needs of clients. Word spread fast. Soon, he began offering rainwater catchment system sales and installation and his service area rapidly expanded from Ka’u to Kohala.
Corey’s aim from the beginning was to offer a “caring, conscious service.” Growing up in Holualoa, next door to Doris’ Place, Corey learned to value a strong sense of community, where you look out for each other. This same community-mindedness drives his business. It’s this approach, plus the highest quality rainwater catchment systems that sets Pacific Blue Catchment apart.
About Pacific Blue Catchment
Pacific Blue Catchment offers rainwater tank sales and installation, monthly maintenance, and repairs. They have four different types of tank packages from basic to premium, including Pioneer sealed metal water tanks and pre-tank filters for the safest, cleanest water. They can also help with irrigation systems and drainage and landscape solutions. They serve clients from Ka’u to Kohala and work on all kinds of catchment systems on residential and commercial properties. Learn more at: https://www.pacificbluecatchment.org/.
Their Suites Story
“We currently have a 100% five star rating on Google Business and Suite Possibilities is a big part of that,” says Corey.
PBC has been a client at Suite Possibilities since 2017, where they rent a professional office space and utilize administrative and financial services like bookkeeping, bill pay, and emailing and faxing documents to clients. “Suites is an affordable place to professionalize our business,” Corey says. Having a brick and mortar office space where he can meet with clients and display his certifications and awards helps to build trust with clients and adds to the company’s professional image.