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POSTED: Saturday, August 01, 2009

Question: I live in a townhouse near Aikahi Park, and my grandkids are visiting. The playground at Aikahi Elementary School seems to be closed, but I don't know if it is usually open to the public or if it belongs only to the school. Can you find out what's going on and if it will be open to the general public?

Answer: The school playground remains closed as the Friends of Aikahi Playground committee continues raising money to purchase more ground cover and to pay for shipping costs, according to a committee member.

At this point, it's not known when the playground will reopen.

When it does, it will be available for the community to use, except when school is in session.

You can find out more about the project — and to make a donation of money or materials — by going to the Web site aikahiplayground.org.

The new playground opened in March.

However, it was shut down a couple of months later, after children began getting cuts and scrapes from the gravel ground cover. There also was a problem with equipment settling into the ground.

Question: What state agency would you call to report people hosing dog feces down a residential street which flows into the storm drains instead of disposing of the droppings properly?

Answer: On Oahu you can report this to the city's Environmental Concern Line, 768-3300.

Despite a concerted effort by state and city agencies to educate the public about not dumping anything but water into storm drains, it remains a problem.

The waste-water (sewage) system is completely separate from storm drains, which were meant to get rid of rainwater from streets and parking lots.

While waste water is cleaned at treatment plants before being discharged into the ocean, runoff from streets goes into the storm drains and directly into streams and the ocean.

According to the city Department of Environmental Services, pollutants found daily in the storm drain system include paint thinner and paint products, motor oil, pesticides, foam cups, paper products of all kinds, animal feces, antifreeze, golf balls, dirty diapers and dead animals.

AUWE

To the custodian at the District Court house on Alakea Street for dumping his mop bucket with soapy water onto the sidewalk where pedestrians walk. It was not only messy, but also created a safety hazard. — M.N.

Response: The custodians are not just getting rid of dirty water — they're cleaning the area.

Wayne Taniguchi, interim manager for facilities management for Oahu Circuit Court, explained that trash pickup is done every other day at District Court.

The trash gets compacted, with a resulting mixture of liquids discarded at the rear of the truck compactor doors, he said.

That mixture of liquids spills out onto the concrete driveway, leaving a foul odor.

Custodians mix a bucket of disinfectant solution with water to pour over areas where the liquid has been discarded. They then either scrub or hose down the area, normally between 9 and 10 a.m., after heavy traffic to the loading dock slows down, Taniguchi said.

It's felt that a sanitized, odorless area is “;more suitable”; for pedestrians than the bad odor of garbage.

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