City sued over falling, 'twisting' hillside in Palolo

Lawsuit alleges Board of Water Supply partly responsible for falling Palolo Hillside
Updated: Dec. 13, 2017 at 7:24 PM HST
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(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

PALOLO, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Palolo hillside neighborhood has been falling apart for years.

But now a new lawsuit blames part of the problem on the city and the Honolulu Board of Water Supply.

"It's incredible and almost shocking. It is not even understandable. It is the obligation of the city and the Board of Water Supply to maintain these sorts of areas of our island," said attorney Karin Holma.

Holma represents a couple who have lived on Waiomao Road for more than four years. Their suit alleges that water from broken pipes along Kuahea Street have saturated the ground, undermining the land.

More than half a dozen homes on Kuahea and Waiomao have suffered significant structural damage in recent years.

Holma's clients said they have spent thousands of dollars in fixes to little avail.

"Their house is literally twisting. Their driveway … has buckled," said Holma.

Neighbors say Board of Water Supply crews are out in this neighborhood on a regular basis. But each time they fix a leak, a new one springs up.

When Hawaii News Now visited the area on Wednesday, we saw water trickling out a small hole in the ground at the base of Kuahea Street.

When we last visited the site nearly six months ago, larger streams of water were trickling out other nearby holes.

Holma said the Board of Water Supply began plans to install a new drainage and water system 18 months ago. That would have gone a long way to solving the neighborhood's problems.

But so far, the project hasn't gotten off the ground yet, she said.

"It is irritating because the road is all lopsided and it's dangerous," added Jane Nishigaya, who has lived in the neighborhood since 1957.

HNN asked the board for response, but they referred all questions to city lawyers, who had no comment because the lawsuit is pending.

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