Councilman Calls for Sewage Spill Investigation

Honolulu City Coucilman Charles Dijou
Honolulu City Coucilman Charles Dijou

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Forty-eight million gallons of sewage went into the Ala Wai Canal in March. One Honolulu city councilman said that alone merits a closer look.

"This is a sewer spill which is not only the largest in Hawaii history. It's the largest in the history of the United States," said Honolulu Councilman Charles Djou.

"This is a spill five times the size of the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska," Djou said.

Djou called for the council to form a special investigative committee with the power to subpoena witnesses.

"What we do need is answers on its why did this happen, who is responsible, and how can we make sure this never ever happens again," Djou said.

Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann said the city is already cooperating with the Environmental Protection Agency's investigation.

"I want to make sure any investigation by the council isn't duplicative and doesn't it get in the way of our over-arching responsibility which is to comply with the EPA," Hannemann said.

The city is currently engaged in a lawsuit with the Sierra Club over the state of its sewer system. Councilman Djou said he may wait until that legal battle is resolved before pushing for an investigation.

"They'll just turn around and ask and demand a bigger settlement of the city's taxpayers, that's not my intention," Djou said.

A majority of the council would have to sign off on creating a special investigative committee. If approved, the committee would have the authority to hire outside attorneys and experts.