Board of Water Supply: Oahu below national average for number of water main breaks

Wayne Hashiro
Wayne Hashiro

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu Board of Water Supply crews responded to a break in an eight-inch main under Ahakapu Street in Pacific Palisades Tuesday. It was the second water main break on Oahu in as many days.

Water gushing with such force that it crumbles the pavement -- the tell-tale sign that a line has ruptured.

"I wish I could tell the people that I can get a system where there will be no breaks," Wayne Hashiro, BWS manager and chief engineer, said. "The most unfortunate thing is all of our pipe lines are under pressure."

On average, repair crews scramble to one water main break per day. From the settlement of soil because of heavy rains to the vibration caused by large vehicles or construction, the age of a line isn't the only factor.

"We have a system where we track the amount of breaks in the line," Hashiro said. "For those that have a multitude of breaks, we'll go and replace it."

Hashiro oversees roughly 2,000 miles of pipes and would like to replace at least 30 miles of pipes per year.

"But pipe replacement is not the only thing I have," he said. "I have reservoirs. I have pump stations. I have treatment units that I have to program. So there's going to be a multitude of things that I have to upgrade."

With all the ruptures, he says Oahu is still below the national average of 25 to 40 breaks per 100 miles.

"We've been averaging about 18 breaks per 100 miles," Hashiro said.

The Board of Water Supply has spent the last three years and more than $14 million on a complete overhaul of the main under Farrington Highway in Leeward Oahu, frustrating motorists along the way.

"It needed to be done. It was a very painful experience. Now we're doing the North Shore," Hashiro said. "I can't promise no breaks, but we'll try our best."

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