FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 22, 2006
ALA WAI WARNING SIGNS COME DOWN
City crews are removing warning signs along the Ala Wai Canal and Ala Moana that were posted yesterday in the wake of a minor spill of untreated wastewater that occurred during the switchover to the Beachwalk wastewater emergency bypass system.
When the transfer occurred shortly before 1 p.m., an estimated 500 to 800 gallons spilled from a bleeder valve that a contractor had left partially open. An unknown portion of that entered the canal on the mauka bank.
City crews posted 173 warning signs along the canal, the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor and portions of Magic Island, and warned surfers and canoe paddlers.
As part of the procedures for transferring Waikikiís sewage to the emergency bypass system, water samples were collected from various points in the canal before and after the transfer. And results of overnight laboratory tests today indicated no appreciable rise in bacteria counts in the canal or offshore. In fact, bacteria levels in the morning samples were higher than the ones taken in the afternoon, after the spill occurred.
The state Department of Health reviewed those results this afternoon and instructed the City to remove the warning signs.
The switch to the emergency bypass system occurred after a crack was found earlier today in the 42-year-old Beachwalk force main. That discovery led the City to divert wastewater from Waikiki and nearby neighborhoods to the emergency bypass system. That series of temporary pumps and pipes was installed after a break in the Beachwalk force main in March forced the City to divert sewage into the Ala Wai for five days.
Ross Tanimoto, Chief, Environmental Services Monitoring & Compliance Branch, 692-5371