With upgrades at Sand Island wastewater facility, city keeps rising seas in mind
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Construction is currently underway on a new warehouse at the Sand Island Wastewater Treatment plant.
When complete, the building’s foundation will be 16 feet above sea level ― an example of how new upgrades are being made with climate change in mind.
Facilities at its Sand Island Wastewater Treatment plant are currently 8 feet above sea level.
But in response to rising waters, new building foundations will be double that height.
“We are raising it up pretty far, further than most other things would be raised up,” said city Environmental Services Director Roger Babcock.
Babcock says raising the facility will happen as old equipment is replaced.
The rising seas will also push the fresh water table higher, putting underwater the massive pipes that bring wastewater from homes to treatment.
The city needs to make sure that rising water doesn’t seep into its pipes.
“We have to continuously try to repair, rehabilitate and put liners and stuff in these pipes as they get older because some pipes are 100 years older and some are newer,” Babcock said.
“We are continuous are fighting that to try and keep the system as secure as we can.”
Along with rising seawater, residents can expect sewer charges will also be needed to keep the system’s budget afloat. The last rate schedule was approved 10 years ago.
“Sea level rise was really not considered in that whole rate package what was envisioned at the time,” Babcock explained. “The projects that needed to be done was what was envisioned then.
“So we will be taking a careful look at that and figuring out what we need to do going forward.”
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