Diver feels way
along sewage break

A diver found multiple cracks yesterday -- some large enough to put his hand inside -- in the Sand Island sewer line that broke last Thursday.

Though the diver took a video camera with him, not much could be seen. "He did it mostly by feel," said Honolulu Environmental Services Director Frank Doyle.

The diver, employed by Sea Engineering Inc., went twice into pipes that are 5 feet 6 inches to 6 feet 6 inches in diameter.

In his first trip at 9 p.m. Tuesday, he traveled about 450 feet up the line toward the harbor, inspecting the line as he went.

During that three-hour dive, he discovered eight suspected cracks in the reinforced concrete line, from less than one-fourth of an inch wide to more than 2 inches wide, Doyle said.

Another dive at 1 p.m. yesterday also lasted about three hours. This time, the diver found larger cracks.

It is still unclear what caused the cracks or how they can best be repaired, Doyle said yesterday.

There is more than a mile of underground 6-foot-6-inch pipe on Sand Island that links the 5-foot-6-inch pipe that brings sewage underneath Honolulu Harbor from the Ala Moana pumping station. That station serves urban Honolulu from Niu Valley to downtown.

Based on calculations from a sewage pumping station that lost pressure at 9 a.m. last Thursday, the city has estimated that 1.7 million to 1.8 million gallons of raw sewage spilled from the pressurized pipe before it was shut down at about 11:15 a.m.

Even though the bacteria counts are low in Honolulu Harbor and around Sand Island, signs warning of contamination will remain at Sand Island State Recreation Area as a safety precaution until sewer repairs are completed and the park remains closed, the state Health Department said.

The department has established a Web-based health advisory system at .

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