Process to remove sewer pipe from Ala Wai begins

Published: Jul. 15, 2013 at 9:04 AM HST|Updated: Jul. 16, 2013 at 12:50 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Nicknamed the Black Noodle it's been a reminder of one of the dirtiest days in state history. Now the City of Honolulu has started removing a sewage pipe from the Ala Wai Canal.

The work has already begun and by the end of next month the backup sewer pipe should be out of the Ala Wai for good.

Drain it, float it and cut it up. That's the process to remove the mile long and four foot diameter sewer pipe from the Ala Wai canal.

It went in back in 2006 after 40 days of rain backlogged the system. Instead of letting the nastiness come up toilets in Waikiki the city released millions of gallons of untreated sewage into the Ala Wai.

Seven years later the city finished a complete sewer upgrade with a backup system in place.

"Great story for Waikiki area, don't have to worry about this type of spill anymore. It opens the door up for development or further changes in Waikiki," said Chris Takashige, Department of Design and Construction Director.

The old pipe should be out by the end of August. Then the city will rehab the trail that's been closed so long some residents in the area forgot it was there but will be happy to have back by the end of the year.

"Biking with the kids is good because a lot of times there are a lot of driveways you have to deal with when biking with kids and it's not good so a nice pathway would be excellent. It's a great idea, remove that dirty pipe," said Ashleigh Meyer, lives near the Ala Wai.

Honolulu has dumped so much sewage it violated the Clean Water Act. The sewer upgrades go along with the settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency and are part of $5 billion worth of improvements coming over the next two decades. The EPA says so far the city is in compliance and on schedule.

"Of course the Mayor's plan with wastewater is to try and get ahead of the schedule. That's one of his top five priorities," said Takashige. "We have a whole bunch of projects. We have the treatment plant upgrades, the Kailua to Kaneohe tunnel, 10 foot tunnel we're putting in between Kailua and Kaneohe."

There are also discussions to build a dog park in the area. It's a pipe dream the city has sat on but is getting closer to pushing through. However no money has been budgeted for the dog park yet.

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