Preventing Future Sewage Spills

Justin Hahn
Justin Hahn
Amber Fisher
Amber Fisher
Dean Higuchi
Dean Higuchi

(KHNL) - An agreement is reached between the city, state and federal agencies to prevent future spills in Oahu's sewer system.

Sewer force mains, the large pressurized pipes that carry the bulk of our wastewater are critical parts of the city's sewer system.

Now plans are in place to make sure the most vulnerable ones won't fail in the future.

During a quiet afternoon along the Ala Wai, you can hear the canoe paddlers on the canal or listen to people enjoying a bike ride..

But more importantly, you can't hear the construction of sewer work.

"There's noise 24 hours a day, and there are bright lights right outside my window so I keep my windows closed so the noise doesn't get in and the blinds closed so the light doesn't get in." says Justin Hahn, a Waikiki resident.

But now, under an agreement reached with the Environmental

Protection Agency, the city will have sewer construction for years to come.

"You're starting to look at things that need to be done next year, and lasting all the way to 2014." says Dean Higuchi, with the EPA.

This agreement comes over a year after Waikiki's massive sewage spill. which was followed by sewer work and repairs, including a huge bypass line that stretched across the Ala Wai canal.

Some, who live nearby, are not looking forward to more construction along this scenic spot.

"Its too bad they didn't think of this 10-20 years ago and prevent it in the first place, be more pro-active instead of reactive and now we have to deal with the noise and the eyesore." says Waikiki resident, Amber Fisher.

The EPA has targeted six sewer force mains that critically need to be replaced or repaired. In addition, the city must also have backup force mains in place to prevent another sewage spill.

Some are disappointed over more construction, but are also looking forward to a spill free future.

"There has to be a sacrifice, a trade-off, if you're looking for cleaner water , a cleaner environment, you have to put up with that. Says Sohale Samari, a Waikiki resident.

The agreement between the EPA and the city of Honolulu covers future construction , but does not address any fines that may be leveled against the city for dumping over 50 million gallons of raw sewage into the canal last year.