Three ocean areas still closed on Maui due to wastewater spills
Some ocean areas around Maui are still closed and beach goers should heed warning signs after sewage spilled in three locations, according to county officials.
Warning signs are posted in the affected areas and the County of Maui's Department of Environmental Management is working with the Department of Health to determine when the ocean in these areas will be safe to enter.
Initially Maui County officials had hoped to test the water today, but heavy rains prevented testing. Tests are now scheduled for tomorrow.
The areas are around Kahului, the ocean fronting Hale Nanea and some of the drainage ditches near the 24 Hour Fitness gym, Paukukalo and Napili.
Signs have been posted in the affected areas the the county will notify the public when it's safe to enter the ocean in the ocean in these areas.
Problems occurred when Maui County started up pump stations in low-lying areas following the all-clear notice after yesterday’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.