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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, December 5, 2001

Sewage spills into Kalihi Stream

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

City work crews stopped a large sewage spill in Kalihi late Monday, but not before more than 58,000 gallons of sewage poured into Kalihi Stream.

The spill was described as "significant" by city Environmental Services director Tim Steinberger. He said through a spokeswoman that the city "hasn't experienced something this large in many years."

A contractor working on a manhole at 1485 Linapuni St. reported the spill at about 7:30 a.m. Monday. The contractor said someone likely trespassed onto the work site and threw a "very large rock" into the manhole, blocking the line under an apartment building at Kuhio Park Terrace.

City crews worked for nearly nine hours to remove the boulder, other rocks, and gravel from the line. At the height of the spill, an estimated 100 gallons of sewage per minute were flowing into Kalihi Stream.

Steinberger said an investigation into the cause of the spill was under way.

He said if the incident was caused by vandalism, the case would be turned over to the federal Environmental Protection Agency's criminal investigation division.

State Department of Health spokeswoman Janice Okubo said her office will wait for a report from the city before deciding if enforcement action will be taken.

Steinberger said the city is testing the water to determine the amount of contamination in the stream. He said the first test results will be available today, but said it could take up to a month for the water to clear up.