Water main break closes schools, courthouse in Kaneohe

Water main break closes schools, courthouse in Kaneohe

KANEOHE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Water is back on for Windward Oahu residents and at full pressure. Overnight a main pipe burst causing thousands of people from Heeia Pier to Castle Junction to wake up to no water.

Faucets are running and toilets are flushing again. Earlier they weren't which is why places like Windward Community College cancelled classes.

When dealing with a water main break the first step is to find the broken pipe. This time that was tough because it was about an eighth of a mile off Kamehameha Highway in a wooded area not readily accessible. It was also 11:00 pm when it broke and seven hours later after the sun came up crews were finally able locate the spot near Heeia Pier.

While crews went to work many students did not. Kaneohe elementary was one of the schools that shut down for the day without water.

"I immediately grabbed water bottles so I can get ready for work thinking there was water at work and low and behold there was none," said Michelle Mendes, Kaneohe Elementary School Employee.

Michelle Mendes works at Kaneohe Elementary, which didn't have water and neither did her home at Haiku Hale on Kahuhipa Street. That street was weird because buildings on one side did not have water while the buildings on the other side of the street did.

"There are a series of different pipelines through the area and its dependent on how they are connected to that system," said Kurt Tsue, Board of Water Supply Spokesman.

Also King Intermediate School was right down the road from the water main break and had water. But Hawaii Pacific University five miles away did not.

"It was likely due to their elevation and so the customers that didn't have water service it was because there wasn't enough water pressure in the system to provide for them," said Tsue.

"This is the first week of school. The students are crushed to be missing this opportunity, but I think we'll get thru it," said Andy Brittain, HPU Vice-President of Academic Admissions.

And judgment day would have to wait at the Kaneohe Courthouse where no water made the final ruling to close for the day.

All schools and services will be open again tomorrow barring any other break.

"We really want to apologize to our customers and all of the facilities that were impacted by this break. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience," said Tsue.

The pipe itself is 53 years old which likely contributed to its failure.

Crews are still working on the broken pipe. The rule of thumb says for each inch of pipe, it takes an hour to repair. In this case a 16 inch pipe is about 16 hours of work.

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