City restoring sewage plant after 20 million gallons leak

City restoring sewage plant after 20 million gallons leak

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii's largest sewage treatment plant is getting closer to being back online.  The Sand Island Wastewater Treatment Plant was damaged in the heavy rains of Hurricane Ana.

Hurricane Ana shorted the electricity, sparked a fire and shutdown the system. However the Sand Island facility is still able to operate, just not as efficiently.

An estimated 20 million gallons of sewage overflowed inside the building although none of it made it outside.  It did blow the electrical system.  It also didn't help that the City was renovating three of the tanks at the time.

"The goal is by tomorrow we'll be back on the grid with He co power, meaning we won't need the generator anymore and that means we are getting back to where we were prior to this entire problem occurring," said Kirk Caldwell, Honolulu Mayor. "We had a perfect storm. We had construction ongoing. We had a major spike unlike anything we've seen and we didn't have the capacity to handle all of it. We now have a process in place to ensure it should not happen a second time."

The City hopes to prevent another incident by raising the bulkhead walls and blocking holes in tanks during construction.  The City has to pay a $75,000 deductible, but insurance should cover the rest of the costs.

The City is testing bacteria levels where sewage is released and levels have been safe.  The mayor is hoping to test the pumps tonight and have full service back by tomorrow.

The facility is still working thanks to gravity.  People don't need to change their flushing habits although as always don't flush anything other than waste and toilet paper.

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