SEWAGE CRISIS AVERTED
Waikiki bypass works as planned
The system is put to the test when a crack is found in the main
The emergency bypass sewage system along the Ala Wai Canal, an eyesore to some, was put to the test yesterday so crews could repair a crack in the Beachwalk pressurized main.
The crack, about 3 feet long and 4 inches wide, was discovered yesterday morning when crews were excavating around the 42-inch reinforced concrete pipe near the Beachwalk pump station on Kuhio Avenue.
The system worked fine as of yesterday afternoon, according to city officials. It was installed during the summer after heavy rain ruptured the force main after weeks of heavy rain, pouring 48 million gallons of untreated wastewater into the Ala Wai Canal.
CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Ala Wai sewer pumps started working after a crack was discovered near the Waikiki pumping station. This pump is across from Lewers Street.
About 500 to 800 gallons of wastewater did spill into the canal yesterday after crews forgot to completely close one of the valves, according to city officials.
The state Department of Health was notified, and there were notices posted around the canal, said city Managing Director Wayne Hashiro.
The force main is about 42 years old, and it carries most of the Waikiki wastewater toward the Ala Moana pump station, then to the Sand Island Wastewater Treatment Plant.
"When we launched the emergency bypass project in May, I announced that it was the city's top priority," said Mayor Mufi Hannemann. "Now we can see why. Had we not already installed the emergency pumps and pipes, we'd be facing another crisis today."
Rick Egged, Waikiki Improvement Association president, praised the city's preparation for dodging another large-scale sewage spill.
"The city worked fast, once the gravity of the situation unfolded," Egged said.
Craig Nishimura, city Design and Construction deputy director, said the emergency system would be in operation possibly for two months while crews repair the crack in the main line. Repairs depend on the availability of parts on the mainland.
The emergency bypass project, about $20 million, is more than half complete. Phase two involves reinforcing the soil under Kaiolu Street, then installing two permanent underground pipes to replace the existing force main.
The project is targeted to be completed by March or April.
The crew found the crack yesterday while preparing to remove and replace a section of the existing force main, which was slated for next week.
That would have required the city to divert wastewater through the emergency bypass system anyway, Nishimura said.