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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, March 9, 2006

Waterfalls flooding highway

By Robbie Dingeman
Advertiser Columnist

Q. Why have those three waterfalls on the Pali Highway Kailua-bound become so common? The water sheets down the face of the mountain and onto the road. This was especially apparent on March 1, when so much water and rock were flowing onto the highway that the right lane closed. ... Is the Department of Transportation doing anything about this problem?

A. The problem was worse this month than it had been, said state transportation department spokesman Scott Ishikawa. Crews pinpointed the source of the problem to a blocked culvert along Old Pali Highway Trail, about 150 feet above Pali Highway.

As a quick-fix, he said crews placed sandbags along Old Pali Highway Trail to divert water to another culvert for proper drainage. Crews will go back to clean out the clogged culvert but this week are busy clearing bridges and culverts on the Windward coast because more rain is expected.

Q. Our sewer line runs through a neighbor's property, and it will cost us a lot of money to get the sewer line to our property. Why are we paying sewer fees but still have to pay for this? Isn't everyone supposed to get a sewer hook-up for every house?

A. This situation happens fairly often in older neighborhoods, said City Environmental Services official Tim Houghton. "Often these were family developments where cost was saved by only having a single lateral connecting to the sewer main," he said. "Unfortunately this also resulted in no easements being recorded through one property in favor of the adjoining property owner for the sewer lateral."

The responsibility for the line to the residence belongs to the property owner, he said. Houghton said sewer fees pay for the "transportation and treatment of wastewater and for our maintenance of the portion of the system, sewer mains and lower laterals, that the city owns," but not for maintenance of the laterals.

Houghton said the city encourages landowners to negotiate a solution. "We would be happy to ... assist in determining the best and least expensive way to establish a new connection if it is necessary, but they will remain responsible for contracting for and paying for installation," he said.

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