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The City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Environmental Services (ENV) announced today that sewage spills are down for the third-straight quarter this year.

“Repairing our collection system infrastructure has been a top priority of my administration for the past four years,” Mayor Mufi Hannemann said.  “There’s no doubt our city’s sewer system is in better shape today than it was three and a half years ago, and we’ll continue to do the work necessary to make more improvements to ensure we leave this place better than we found it.”

In the third quarter of 2008, from July 1 through September 30, ENV recorded 23 sewage spills from gravity mains, lower laterals, pump stations and force mains.  This is a 36.12 percent reduction compared to 36 spills recorded during the third quarter of 2007.

“We are currently working on 52 projects related to our wastewater system,” Dr. Eric Takamura, director of ENV, said.  “It is a long, time-consuming process, but a vital component to preserving the environment and safeguarding the health and welfare of our residents.”

In addition to the third quarter decline, ENV data reflects a 37.39 percent drop (107 to 67) in sewage spills during the first nine months of 2008 as compared to the same stretch in 2007. 

The majority of spills are grease, roots and debris.  Other common factors associated with spills are broken or sagging pipes and wet weather.

ENV conducts a preventive maintenance (PM) program implementing various facets to address both grease and roots in the city’s sewer lines. 

ENV’s Collection System Maintenance utilizes high-pressure Vactor trucks to flush grease from sewer lines, while addressing roots by mechanical and chemical approaches.  Crews insert rods with sharp cutters into the ends of affected pipes to cut away intruding roots.  After this process is completed, crews shoot a foam poison through the pipes to deter roots from growing for the next six to 12 months.

Smoke testing blows non-toxic smoke into sewer lines and records where it appears through broken pipes, illegal connections, open cleanouts and other paths on private properties.  These areas allow rainwater inflow and infiltration to enter and overwhelm the sewer system causing spills.

Additionally, the Environmental Quality’s Regulatory Control Branch of ENV addresses commercial and residential grease through its FOG (fats, oil, grease) program, which includes inspections, investigation of problem areas, follow-up warnings and enforcement actions, along with outreach and educational programs.

Mayor Hannemann appropriated more than $1.1 billion to refurbish the city’s wastewater infrastructure since January 2005 and estimated another $1.5 billion spent in the next six years.





Markus Owens, 768-3454

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

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