Improvements to Honouliuli Treatment Plant Nearing

Mayor Mufi Hannemann
Mayor Mufi Hannemann

EWA BEACH (KHNL) - It's a dirty job, and they are committed to doing it right.

That's from top Honolulu officials as they launch their latest project upgrading the city's wastewater systems.

With a scoop of the shovel, Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann and other dignitaries break ground on the project that even they admit is not the most glamorous one.

"It's easy to go to a park dedication. a swimming pool dedication, a soccer field dedication, that's the feel good stuff," said Hannemann. "This is the kinda stuff that's neglected cause it's what gets down into the nitty gritty."

More specifically -- wastewater.

The city's spending $41-million to upgrade the facilities at the Honouliuli treatment plant. It will help reduce the amount of sludge generated here, as well as the smell. However, it will not further treat the wastewater that's released into the ocean.

That's something the Environmental Protection Agency wants done.

"What EPA is calling for, is gonna be additional structures," said Eric Takamura, director of the city's department of environmental services. "Not what you see here. We're not replacing what you see here."

The mayor says doing those upgrades would cost ten times as much. The city says it is working towards compliance, and this is the first step.

"Tere was a lot of catch up work that we needed to do," said Hannemann. "As we go into the future, we're gonna leave Honolulu a better place."

Construction work is expected to take two years.