Ala Wai sewer fix to cost $48M
The city hopes to start work soon on a temporary bypass costing $8 million
City officials hope to begin work on an emergency bypass sewer line next month, as part of a $48 million project to prevent future sewage spills into the Ala Wai Canal.
The bypass line would be partially underground and partially submerged in the Ala Wai Canal near the bank, city Environmental Services Director Eric Takamura said yesterday.
COST OF THE SEWER FIX
» Temporary bypass line: $8 million
» Permanent replacement for Beachwalk force main: $30 million
» Rehab of old Beachwalk force main: $10 million
Source: City Department of Environmental Services
The $8 million temporary line could be installed in a matter of months and would remain for five to six years, Takamura said.
That is how long he expects it will take to build a new 42-inch Beachwalk force main for $30 million and to rehabilitate the existing one at a cost of $10 million, so it can serve as a permanent backup line.
Takamura said he submitted emergency procurement paperwork yesterday to the city budget director.
"When it is approved, the contractor can order the pipe" needed for the project, he said.
Because it is emergency work, the city will select the contractor or contractors it believes can best do the job without taking bids, Takamura said.
He also said that he has staff scrambling to meet a Monday deadline for getting a report on last month's spill of 48 million gallons of raw sewage into the Ala Wai Canal to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Takamura said he found out Tuesday that the EPA would not allow the city to have more time to file the report. He said he had thought extra time would be granted, so he told staff to gather information for ongoing settlement talks with the EPA in a different case, which has a May deadline.
"Our staff is shorthanded," and the same people are working on the spill report as had been working on the settlement documents, Takamura said.
The settlement could resolve a 2004 lawsuit by the Sierra Club, Hawaii's Thousand Friends and Our Children's Earth that accuses the city of an unacceptable number of sewage spills from force mains.
Some engineers working on a design for the temporary bypass pipe for the Beachwalk force main have said it could be installed in as few as three months, but Takamura said he thinks it will take longer.
The temporary line will be made of high-density polyethylene that is made to deal with pressurized flows, Takamura said. A 16-inch-diameter temporary pipe of that material is handling sewage in Niu Valley until a new force main is built there.
The Beachwalk force main backup will either be 42 inches in diameter -- the same size as the original line -- or consist of two smaller lines.
Takamura said he prefers using two 24-inch diameter lines because when the Beachwalk project is complete, they could more readily be used for other projects.
The temporary line will approximately follow the path of the existing underground force main, which starts at the Pump Station at Kuhio Avenue and Beachwalk. It runs underneath Kaiolu Street, where the break occurred March 24-30, to Ala Wai Boulevard. The pipe then goes under Ala Wai Boulevard to the Ala Moana bridge, where it crosses under the canal and empties into a gravity sewer line 69 inches in diameter.
The temporary line will be underground on Kaiolu Street, then submerged in the Ala Wai Canal until it reaches the Ala Moana bridge. It is not clear yet whether the pipe will run near the makai or mauka bank of the canal or where it will cross it, Takamura said.
"We do know that if we go above ground, we would be disturbing the whole sidewalk," he said.
One unknown is what would be best for canoe clubs that use the Ala Wai. The clubs that normally practice in the canal have moved elsewhere because of elevated bacterial levels in the water.
The Ala Wai was dredged in 2002-03 to a depth of 6 to 12 feet. Whether the areas where the sewer pipe will be routed will go that deep remains to be seen, Takamura said.
He said some of the pipe might be visible above the waterline, or it might be possible to dredge before placing the pipe.
Sewer work to affect Kalanianaole traffic
Work related to the Niu Valley sewer line will disrupt daytime traffic on Kalanianaole Highway between Puuikena Drive and Niuiki Circle through the end of May, according to a city consultant.
The work will be done between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on weekdays and will cause some rerouting of traffic, said Kris Young, of Community Building & Communications, which is handling publicity for the city project.
Soil borings will be taken along the proposed route for a new sewer force main to replace one that failed multiple times early last year. Since then the area has been served by a temporary above-ground sewer line until a permanent replacement line can be built.
After soil testing is complete, the city will hold community meetings to share the results and seek community input, Young said.