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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Sunday, January 23, 2005

Crews mop up after sizable sewage spill

By Will Hoover
Advertiser Staff Writer

City crews had mopped up much of a 2.3-million-gallon sewage spill yesterday that began at the Pearl City wastewater pumping station on Lehua Avenue on Friday, a city official said.

"The crews have cleaned it up pretty well," said Athan Adachi, chief of the city's wastewater division, while visiting the site at midday. "And we're also cleaning up the surrounding areas where the sewage flowed out of the pump station."

As part of the effort, he said, crews sprayed disinfectant around the contaminated area so that it wouldn't become a public health hazard.

The large spill began as the city was making improvements at the station and a contractor opened a pressurized sewage pipe because of a miscommunication, according to Adachi. He said the initial spill had been contained on the pump station grounds, but some 1.4 million gallons had flowed into the Waiawa Stream and Pearl Harbor's Middle Loch.

"From what I understand, the homes that are near the pump station were not affected," he said. "They are much higher than the pump station."

However, Adachi said some homes connected to the pump station about five miles down and to the west had experienced backed-up toilets.

"I did hear reports that it did affect a few homes," said Adachi, who said he did not know how many homes were involved or the extent of the problem.

Adachi said workers should be done cleaning the pump station by tomorrow, when the improvement work can begin again.