‘This has got to end’: Pipes leaking millions of gallons of water at Dillingham Airfield still not fixed

The state leases the land but the Army has jurisdiction.
Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 9:04 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 21, 2023 at 4:53 AM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WAIALUA (HawaiiNewsNow) - Leaky pipes at Dillingham Airfield on Oahu’s North Shore have been a problem for years, causing millions of gallons of water to be wasted monthly.

The Army owns Dillingham Airfield, but the DOT is currently leasing it.

Over the years, HNN has talked to the state lawmakers who represent the area, all reporting the leaks have gone on for at least 10 years.

They claim neither the state nor the Army has been willing to take charge until now.

“So [on Monday] we went out, the Department of Transportation Director Ed Sniffen gave us a tour of the area and told us the state could get this work in one day, we just need the army’s approval,” said State Sen. Brenton Awa, who represents the area.

HNN obtained a letter sent by Sniffen to the Army Garrison Hawaii on July 20.

It states that under its current lease with the Army, all airport “improvements” by the DOT must be submitted for review and approval by the Army.

According to the letter, its requests for several projects which include fixing the pipes, have not been approved.

“The public is going to see this and see this as this is just the government pointing fingers at each other,” said Awa. “It’s been 10 years of red tape. This has got to end.”

One farmer in the area who works at Dillingham Airfield said she had no idea water had been leaking for years without a total fix.

“I would say it’s very disappointing,” said Eva Hovious, who works at GoJump Hawaii. “Water is vital to everyone and life itself, but especially out on the North Shore, there are a lot of farmers, and we need that water.”

The Army provided a statement on the issue that reads:

The Army is working with Hawaii Department of Transportation to refine their repair plans to meet the requirements and standards of the National Historic Preservation Act in consultation with the State Historic Preservation Department. Once the final plans meet the requirements of NHPA, the water system repairs can begin. The Army is committed to working with stakeholders to find collaborative solutions to water system repair and lease renewal concerns while meeting all regulatory requirements. The Army participates in a regular working group concerning the airfield and its future. The last meeting was Aug. 30, 2023.