City of Honolulu gets ready for Hurricane Ignacio - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

City of Honolulu gets ready for Hurricane Ignacio

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Honolulu city and county crews are busy preparing for Hurricane Ignacio.

One of the things crews are doing to prevent flooding is clearing out streams and cutting overgrowth near streams.

But Mayor Kirk Caldwell said one of the main concerns is making sure the city's sewage system doesn't fail, especially since Honolulu saw major sewage spills this week because of heavy rain.

"We have double checked and triple checked with all of our major construction projects. So Ala Moana, for example, is one of the main projects we have ongoing, and that's where we had a problem. We touched base with the contractor to make everything is in place so there's not a repeat," Caldwell said.

On Monday, half a million gallons of raw sewage overflowed on Atkinson Drive near Ala Moana. Some of that waste made it to the ocean causing beach closures and the news topped national and international headlines. City officials said the problem was exacerbated because a nearby pump station was closed for construction. They say that won't happen again.

"There are no other construction projects ongoing at pumping stations other than at Ala Moana. At Ala Moana you may remember we have two pumping stations: Ala Moana One and Two. Both pumping stations are currently in operation,"  Timothy Houghton said, Deputy Director for the Department of Environmental Services.

"We will not resume the construction work at Ala Moana two until we're clear of these two storms," said Houghton. 

Another major concern is the large trees, like Albizia trees, looming over city and county roadways. The spokeswoman for the  city's parks department said they are keeping a close eye on them.

"The parks department, our Division of Urban Forestry, a number of years ago stopped planting Albizia trees because of the danger,” said Deputy Director for the Department of Parks and Recreation Jeanne Ishikawa.

“So the ones that we do have, they have been trimming those and monitoring. So the other trees that you're seeing are likely not city trees. They're very few Albizia trees in our tree inventory," Ishikawa said.

The city has not signed an emergency declaration. Caldwell says that decision will come later.

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