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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                             November 21, 2006

 

CRACK FOUND IN BEACHWALK FORCE MAIN;

SEWAGE DIVERTED TO EMERGENCY BYPASS

 

            The emergency bypass sewage system that was installed in Waikiki this summer will be placed into operation by 1 p.m. today to allow crews to repair a crack discovered this morning in the Beachwalk force main.

            “When we launched the emergency bypass project in May, I announced that it was the City’s top priority,” said Mayor Mufi Hannemann. “Now we can see why. Had we not already installed the emergency pumps and pipes, we’d be facing another crisis today.”

            The crack was discovered by crews that were excavating around the 42-inch reinforced concrete pipe, near the Beachwalk pump station, on Kuhio Avenue at Kaiolu Street. The crack is about 3 feet long around the circumference of the pipe, and 4 inches wide.   

            “The small amount of wastewater that escaped when the main was exposed has been contained within the pit,” said Craig Nishimura, deputy director of the Department of Design and Construction. “Fortunately the emergency bypass is already in place, and we’re putting that into service now so we can get on with repairs and completing the bypass.”

            An estimated 15,000 gallons of wastewater escaped into the pit and was pumped back into the pump station, in what is classified as a contained spill.

            In order for repairs to be performed, wastewater that normally would go through the pump station and force main will be diverted to the emergency bypass system, which consists of a series of pumps and temporary plastic pipes along the Ala Wai Canal.

            The Beachwalk force main was built in 1964, more than 40 years ago,  to carry almost all of the wastewater from Waikiki and several surrounding neighborhoods under pressure toward the next pump station at Ala Moana and ultimately to the Sand Island Wastewater Treatment Plant.

            The Beachwalk force main ruptured in March after weeks of heavy rain, and because there was no alternate or backup at the time, the City was forced to divert 48 million gallons of untreated wastewater into the Ala Wai Canal.

            The City immediately went to work on the Beachwalk Wastewater Emergency Bypass project, just in case the force main broke again.

             That project is more than half-completed, with the installation of the emergency pumps and temporary pipes, including a section that’s submerged in the bottom of the canal. Phase two of the project involves reinforcing the soil under Kaiolu Street with a process called jet grouting, and then installing two permanent underground pipes to replace the existing force main. Those pipes will be installed using a process called microtunneling, drilling horizontally from a pit on the mauka side of the Ala Wai Canal under the canal and Kaiolu Street to the Beachwalk pump station.

            The crew that found the crack in the force main was excavating a pit in preparation for removing and replacing a section of the existing force main, just outside the Beachwalk pump station. That work was scheduled to begin next week, and would have required diverting wastewater to the emergency bypass in any event.

            “We’ll just move up our timetable on that particular job,” said Nishimura.

            The emergency bypass is expected to be in operation for two months, he said.

            The state Department of Health has been notified. Water samples are being collected along the Ala Wai to ensure no spill goes undetected. That’s part of a monitoring plan for the emergency bypass operation.  

            For more on the Beachwalk Wastewater Emergency Bypass project, see the website at www.beachwalkbypass.com or call the project hotline at 808-203-5777.

 

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Media contact:

            Craig Nishimura, Deputy Director of Design and Construction, 523-4716

            Jim McCoy, Hoakea Communications, 543-8374

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

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