Aging pipe causes Kaneohe sewage spill
An 11,250-gallon sewage spill into Kaneohe Bay yesterday was caused by a break in an aging force main -- the same kind of pressurized pipe that caused last year's 48-million-gallon spill into the Ala Wai Canal.
However, the pipe involved in yesterday's incident was much smaller -- an 8-inch-diameter iron pipe, compared to a 42-inch-diameter pipe in the larger spill. The Kaneohe force main serves an area with about 400-500 houses, said Clem Padeken, the city's Windward District supervisor for sewage collection systems.
A city worker discovered the leak at 45-007 Ka Hanahou Place at 8 a.m. and it was stopped by 9:15 a.m., Padeken said.
Vacuum pumper trucks removed sewage from the line at the end of Ka Hanahou Place while workers cut out about 4 feet of damaged line and replaced it. The repair was completed by 1:46 p.m., the city said.
The state of repair of the city's force mains is a key issue for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which is in ongoing settlement talks with the city about improving the system.
The Ka Hanahou force main is set to be replaced with a more durable 8-inch, high-density polyethylene pipe. The work should be completed by the end of the year, the city said.
Jennifer Lee, who lives near yesterday's spill, usually lets her two dogs, Sophie and Pongo, off their leashes to romp in the shallow shoreline water along Kaneohe Bay when she takes them for a walk.
Yesterday, Lee said she was impressed with the quickness of city workers' response to the spill. But she will keep the dogs out of the water until the contaminated water signs come down.
The signs, required by the Health Department, will remain in place along the stretch of shoreline until water quality tests return to normal, Padeken said.
Schofield spills partially treated waste
Some 640,000 gallons of treated wastewater that had not gone through ultraviolet disinfection flowed into the Dole irrigation ditch in Wahiawa on Monday and yesterday from the Schofield Barracks Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Wastewater from Schofield Barracks does not flow directly into Lake Wilson or Kaukonahua Stream, said Aqua Engineers Inc., which operates the plant for the Army.
Wayne White, project engineer and superintendent of operations for Aqua Engineers, said they informed Dole and the state Department of Health of the bypass and posted warning signs. But he said, even without the UV disinfection, the wastewater had already received higher-than-secondary treatment.
This type of treatment takes partially treated sewage that has been screened for large floating objects and then allows bacteria to consume a large amount of the organic matter.
And tests at the facility and in the ditch showed coliform bacteria counts well within the level allowed by facility's permit, White said.
Aqua Engineers pays Dole to accept the treated wastewater for its irrigation reservoirs as far away as Waialua and Mokuleia, White said.