Back-up sewer line costly but necessary
The city plans to put in an emergency bypass line to back up the sewer main that broke in Waikiki.
THE city's decision to move quickly on a bypass sewer line in Waikiki acknowledges the damaging consequences of years of neglect. Though not ideal, the plan would at least provide a back-up system
should the four-decade-old main line fail again as it did last month.
About 48 million gallons of raw sewage was discharged into the Ala Wai Canal after the Beachwalk line ruptured during a period of heavy rain, contaminating the canal, surf spots, the Ala Wai Boat Harbor, Magic Island and the Waikiki shorelines.
Most of the signs warning of the pollution have been removed. However, the canal remains off limits and questions about safety linger for both residents and tourists, most recently focused on whether harmful bacteria remain in the beach sand.
The temporary bypass system city officials have mapped out will cost taxpayers $8 million, a hefty sum that will be on top of an estimated $40 million price tag for fixing the Beachwalk segment for the long term.
To get the work done fast, officials will set aside normal rules that require bids be taken for the $8 million part of the project. The situation warrants swift action, but because taxpayers will have to trust officials to choose contractors, the Hannemann administration must do so openly and provide the public detailed accounting. There should be no doubt that the contractors are qualified and are giving the city the most bang for the buck.
At the same time, the public should accept the fact that there will be inconveniences as the work is being done. Roads likely will be blocked from time to time and construction will bring noise and dust to the area.
After all, no one wants a repeat of the catastrophe that fouled Waikiki's tourism image and threatened the health of residents and the environment.
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