DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Crews worked below ground Wednesday at the corner of Kaiolu Street and Kuhio Avenue on what will be the permanent sewer line from the pump station that will carry all of Waikiki's sewage. Work also was being done on a sewer line (not shown) that will replace the existing temporary sewer line that runs along the Ala Wai Canal. CLICK FOR LARGE
New sewer line nears completion
The temporary black plastic line in the Ala Wai Canal is still doing its job moving Waikiki's sewage.
It has been operating for about three months, but it will stop in February. That is when repairs to the Beach Walk sewage line should be completed, said Craig Nishimura, deputy director of the city Department of Design and Construction.
Since a crack in the Beach Walk sewer force main spilled 15,000 gallons of sewage on Nov. 21, the plastic bypass line installed last year has been carrying the daily load of about 12 million gallons of sewage from Waikiki and Manoa, Nishimura said.
It has taken this long to fix the main because precise measurements had to be taken and a new section of line built on the mainland and shipped over, Nishimura said.
The department is supervising $20 million worth of emergency work following the March 24-29 spill of 48 million gallons of sewage into the canal.
The November leak was discovered when contractors were digging to prepare the area for the emergency work to replace the aging Beach Walk force main with a new line.
Fortunately, Nishimura said, the bypass line was there to handle the load while the fix was made.
It was the Beach Walk force main that broke on March 24. The record sewage spill created high bacteria counts that closed some Waikiki beaches for up to a week.
But because there was no backup line for the force main at the time, the alternative would have been letting sewage back up into Waikiki buildings and streets, city officials said.
The new bypass line, with diesel-operated pumps lining the canal, will remain in place until a permanent replacement is built, beginning this year, and the existing line is rehabilitated to be a permanent backup line.
"It certainly shows the value of redundancy," Jeff Mikulina, director of Hawaii's Sierra Club chapter, said.
"We appreciate the greater attention to the sewage system since this whole debacle," Mikulina said of the March mega-spill.
"But we still have a long ways to go until our sewage system is up to 21st-century standards."
The construction manager for the project is M&E Pacific Inc.; the general contractor is Hawaiian Dredging Construction Co.; the subcontractors are Healy Tibbitts Builders Inc. and Frank Coluccio Construction Co.; and the consultants are R.M. Towill Corp., Yogi Kwong Engineers and Kai Hawaii.