City crews on Tuesday responded to a massive sewage spill at the Ko Olina resort in West Oahu, the second such spill in the area in the last three months.
The rupture occurred within 32 feet of another leak, one that happened back in November, where more than 200,000 gallons of untreated wastewater flooded into an undeveloped area on the Diamond Head side of the resort.
"We have a massive sewage spill where a force-main broke," said environmental activist Carroll Cox. "We were told about 8:15 this morning, the city called out all of its vacuum trucks, sent out an alert for all of them to report to this facility."
Cell phone video, taken about an hour before city crews shut down the pipeline, shows thousands of gallons of raw sewage draining onto an area near a nearby golf course.
City crews dispatched nearly a dozen vacuum trucks, tankers and cesspool trucks to clean up the spill. The trucks later dumped the sewage into sewer lines away from the break, allowing it to be sent to a nearby treatment plant.
The spill was contained by about 10:30 a.m., and the cause is still under investigation.
City Environmental Services Director Lori Kahikina said it's still too early to provide an estimate on the size of the spill, but said it could be as large as the last one. The previous leak was caused by corrosion.
"As of now, we know it's a very large spill, similar to the last one," she said. Kahikina says none of the sewage made its way to the ocean.
In the meantime, environmentalists are questioning whether the existing sewer lines can handle all of the development and growth at Ko Olina, including plans for a Atlantis resort in the area.
"There's been some big development happening there, so it really questions whether all this growth can be accommodated for," said Jodi Malinowski, Oahu Group Coordinator for Sierra Club Hawaii. "We're disappointed that there's been another spill."
The city plans says it plans to begin repairs today. Over the longer term, it wants talk to developers to see if even larger sewage lines are needed, though repairs of that magnitude could potentiall cost taxpayers millions of dollars.