Ko Olina spill prompts sewage capacity concerns

Ko Olina spill prompts sewage capacity concerns

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Tuesday's rupture of a 20-inch sewer line near the Ko Olina resort was the fifth spill in the area in less than four years, prompting environmentalist to question whether there's enough capacity for future developments, such as the planned 1,300-unit Atlantis Resort.

"This is a chronic problem," said Marti Townsend, executive director of Sierra Club Hawaii. "Given the problems we're having with sewage spills in this area, the fact that Atlantis wants to build an aquarium gives cause for reviewing their proposal to see if additional infrastructure is necessary."

The latest spill is just 32 feet away from the site of a 200,000-gallon leak back in November. It's also located almost directly on top of an April 2016 leak of a smaller, 16-inch sewer line.

That same 16-inch line ruptured four years ago, near the Diamond Head side of the resort, spilling 15,000 gallons of sewage. A fifth leak occurred back in April 2013, near what is now the Four Seasons resort.

The city estimates that the cost to fix the sewer lines and upgrade Ko Olina's wastewater system could hit $30 million.

"I think if it means we have to impose additional fees on existing and already improved developments, so be it," said Townsend.

The city, though, says the lines are big enough to handle current capacity. Two sewer lines were built in 1988 and 1990, by Ko Olina's original developer, Herbert Horita's West Beach Estates, and were later conveyed to the city.

Those lines were oversized by the developer to future expansion of the area, the city said.

"The projected 2020 future flow conditions still show ample capacity for both force mains," a city spokesman said.

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