Battle to fix storm drain gets muddy - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Battle to fix storm drain gets muddy

Shayne Stambler Shayne Stambler

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

DIAMOND HEAD (KHNL) - As the storm continues to move in, an East Oahu neighborhood is bracing itself for another potential rash of flooding on their streets.

The problem has hit a boiling point among area residents.

Residents in the area have been trying for years to get someone to fix the flooding. The problem is, residents say no one is taking responsibility. They say they've had enough of the finger-pointing.

One particular storm drain is a sore spot for those involved in a two-year-long fight to get it fixed.

"We get a lot of water off the Diamond Head Road, and that comes into the two streets and then it gets backed up here, can't go out the storm drain, then it follows through here and gets backed up to Kiele Avenue," said Shayne Stambler, a Diamond Head resident who lives on Kiele Avenue.

Diamond Head residents living on or near the last block of Kalakaua Avenue say the street transforms into a lake, especially when torrential rain hits the area.

The storm drain is located on a sea wall. Residents say sand clogs up the drain, so when it storms, there's no place for rainwater to go.

"Every once in a while, there are stalled vehicles on the street and it gets into the brakes of the cars and it ruins the brakes too because it's saltwater," said Winston Mirikitani, whose home butts up right next to the seawall.

Residents say the solution is simple.

"Put a one-way flap on the drain, that would keep the sand from coming in and the water would be allowed to move out," said Stambler.

The problem is there's confusion between the City and County of Honolulu, and Bank of Hawaii over who owns the storm drain, and is therefore responsible for maintaining it.

"Seems to me they're all pointing fingers and making all kinds of excuses and the usual bureaucratic stuff," said Tony Locascio, who lives in the flood zone.

The city says the road is not in its jurisdiction. Bank of Hawaii owns it. While the storm drain runs under the road, it ends at a seawall, away from the road. And that's where the confusion lies.

Bank of Hawaii says it doesn't believe it is responsible for the drain itself, but is now looking to hire a private contractor who can help assess the situation.

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