Moanalua Valley Residents React To Levee Report - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Moanalua Valley Residents React To Levee Report

Jeanette Chun Jeanette Chun
Florence Ching Florence Ching
Joseph Bonfiglio Joseph Bonfiglio
Larry Tsuruda Larry Tsuruda

By Leland Kim

MOANALUA VALLEY (KHNL) - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers put three Hawaii levees on a nation-wide "unacceptable" list. Inspectors found vegetation, too much debris, sediment and some cracked concrete and clogged drains. Residents who live near the levees.

Jeannette Chun and Florence Ching are best friends, and have lived in Moanalua Valley since the 1960s.

"The streets weren't even dedicated to the county yet," said Jeanette Chun, who has lived in Moanalua Valley since 1966. "We had no street lights. It was perfectly dark and we had wild pigs coming through here, too."

They live near one of three Hawaii levees deemed "unacceptable" by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

"I've lived here long enough so I've never worried about the levee," said Florence Ching, who also moved into Moanalua Valley in the 1960s.

"Well, we've lived her for about 40 years and never been aware of any kind of levee problem," added Chun.

These levees are very different from the ones that failed in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.

"In New Orleans, the levees function basically as dikes, holding back water," said Joseph Bonfiglio, a public affairs official with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. "Whereas the levees in Moanalua, Hanapepe, and Waimea are not holding back water, but rather serve as stream channels."

Because this levee does not retain water, this stream bed is usually dry. The Army Corps of Engineers says there are no threats to homes in this area.

And these levees have held up during heavy storms, preventing tens of millions of dollars worth of damages.

"In fact the Hanapepe project in Kauai functioned as planned in heavy rain last year, preventing an estimated $3 million in damage," said Bonfiglio.

This is why folks here go about their day, without a care in the world.

"I have faith in the development here," said Larry Tsuruda, who moved into Moanalua Valley in 1969. "This is a nice place."

Repairs on the Moanalua levee were completed earlier this week. Final inspection will occur in the next two weeks with the Army Corps of Engineers. The Kauai levee repairs are expected to begin sometime next month.

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