Maui warned of wastewater spills in some areas
The public has been advised to avoid entering Maui waters in some areas because of wastewater spills, the state Clean Water Branch reported today.
The areas are the North Shore from Kuau fronting Mama’s Fish House restaurant to Waiehu Golf course, South Shore from Wailea to Sugar Beach, West Maui from Puamana to Kapalua. Warning signs have been posted.
Problems occurred when Maui County started up pump stations in low-lying areas following the all-clear notice after today’s tsunami warning.
The county said it shut down the wastewater pump stations because of the tsunami risk.
Saltwater could have permanently damaged pump stations that were running live with electrical power, said Dave Taylor, chief of the county’s wastewater division.
“Repairs could take up to several months or longer,” Taylor said. “During repairs we
would have had to cope with raw sewage impacting our beaches and ocean and low-lying neighborhoods would have no sewer service.”
While power was down to the wastewater pump stations, sewage overflowed
in several areas. Four pump stations in Wailuku/Kahului and one in Napili were involved.
"We weighed the difference between a temporary effect versus long-term damage that and chose a temporary shut down rather than put our community through the dilemma of long term loss of sewer service,” Taylor said.
The state says wastewater spills at Hawaiian Homes, Napili No. 4 and A&B pump stations reached state waters. Maui County work crews are disinfecting those spill sites and have already cleaned up the Waiehu and Wailuku station spills, which didn’t reach state waters.