Work continued on new sewer system yesterday in Kailua, on Kalaheo Avenue. Workman from Westcon Microtunneling were trying to clear an area so they could finish tunneling through to this new manhole shaft.

City slogging through
sewage overflows

Heavy rains on the Windward side
cause two more spills and force
health warnings

Kailua resident Eric Poland drove over a small fountain of dark water that shot out of a manhole on Kailua Road near the Kailua Beach Center about 6 a.m. yesterday.

Then he smelled it.

"I didn't know what it was at first. Then I smelled it and I knew," said Poland. "It seems like the (sewer) problems are getting worse and worse."

Two additional major sewage spills occurred yesterday due to heavy rains in Windward Oahu -- part of numerous spills triggered by the storm that hit Thursday.

City officials are continuing to test affected waters for contamination. Warning signs were posted at portions of Kaelepulu Stream and Kailua Bay last Thursday after a sewer manhole backed up and after thousands of gallons of untreated waste water flowed into storm drains yesterday.

A spill occurred at 394 Wanaao Road at 7:34 a.m. About 63,700 gallons of raw sewage overflowed from a manhole as of 3 p.m. Six pumper trucks were at the site to intercept the flow.

Within two hours, another sewage spill occurred at Kaneohe Bay.

Between 8 and 9 a.m., 25,000 gallons of partially treated waste water from the Kaneohe Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant discharged into the ocean via the Mokapu ocean outfall. The outfall empties about a mile off of Mokapu Point.

A military spokesman said recent heavy rains caused the waste-water treatment plant at Marine Corps Base Hawaii to reach its capacity.

Warning signs remain posted at Pearl Harbor, Lake Wilson, Waimanalo Beach, Bellows Beach, Kawa Stream, Kaneohe Bay, Enchanted Lake, Kaelepulu Stream and Kailua Bay.

Signs were posted after sewage spills recently at the Waimanalo and Wahiawa Wastewater Treatment Plants, Kaneohe Preliminary Treatment Facility, Olepe Loop in Pearl Harbor and Hele Street and Keolu Drive in Kailua.

Another sewage spill occurred Monday in parts of Kalihi Stream and Keehi Lagoon after a sewer manhole on Alu Place overflowed.

The state Department of Health received many calls yesterday from concerned residents on whether it was safe to go into the water, and one resident had complained that he did not see any warning signs that were posted at Kalama Beach.

"People have a habit of ripping off signs," said Watson Okubo of the Clean Water Branch. "That's an added burden on the manpower (for the city)."

Okubo advised beach goers to stay out of the water for several days.

When heavy rains occur, pollutants and possible chemical pollutants from industrial areas and farms enter the streams, said Okubo.

Darcie Yukimura of the state Department of Health has also received calls from canoe paddlers and surfers inquiring about water contamination.

"It may take a while before the water gets cleaned out," Yukimura said. "It will probably be in some areas until the end of the week."

"It's a major problem," said Donna Wong, chairwoman of the committee of planning, zoning and environment for the Kailua Neighborhood Board, of the sewage spills.

"Kailua Beach just gets closed way too often," said Wong. "It's an islandwide problem too that our aging infrastructure just gets ignored and we try to play catch-up."


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