Thursday, October 29, 1998

Diamond Head
sewage spill blamed
on ‘manhole squatter’

By Rod Ohira


Household items from an illegal Diamond Head "residence" caused about 1,700 gallons of sewage to overflow earlier this week onto the slopes of Hawaii's most-recognizable landmark.

It took city crews nearly 11-1/2 hours to clear debris from a manhole where a homeless person nicknamed the "manhole squatter" was storing items.

The squatter was living in a manhole near the one at 680 Paiku St. that overflowed Tuesday, said Department of Environmental Services spokesman Doug Woo.

City crews found fence poles with 200-pound concrete footings, pots and pans, clothing, carpeting, parts of a stove, a small wash basin, small electrical motors, a V-8 car engine block, window screen material, and PVP pipes in the large manhole.

Also found were hundreds of used empty garbage bags and empty propane bottles, glass bottles, and cans.

The case is very unusual, city Environmental Services Director Kenn Sprague said. He said the stored items clogged the outfall, causing the overflow. The spill flowed into a brush area and did not reach receiving waters.

"Going into a manhole is hazardous because gases in there could be lethal," Sprague said.

An Environmental Services inspector called police earlier this week after discovering carpeting, toothbrush and toothpaste in the "living quarters" manhole. The squatter has not been seen since.

The spill was reported at 9:45 a.m. Tuesday and city crews cleared the manhole at midnight.

E-mail to City Desk

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