Ko Olina force main repaired, conservation request lifted

Residents and businesses in Ko Olina are no longer being asked to conserve water.

The request, which asked residents to limit use of toilets, sinks, dishwashers, washing machines, and showers, was issued Wednesday after a force main ruptured at the city’s West Beach Wastewater Pump Station.

Repairs were completed and the pipe was put back in service by 2:30 a.m. Friday.

About a thousand gallons of raw sewage spilled in the area. Luckily workers cutting kiawe trees at the time spotted the spill, or it could have been much worse.

On Thursday, we went to the site where the pipe was cracked and the sewage spilled on the ground. The city said signs were not posted on the beach, because the spill did not reach the ocean.

Crews worked on the cracked pipe located near the railroad tracks by Ko Olina Golf Club. They were also on scene near Lanikuhonua to get the flow upstream and move it downstream.

“Our guys are sucking the flow upstream to prevent it from spilling,” Lori Kahikina, director of the city Department of Environmental Services, said Thursday.

Kahikina says the pipe is from the ’80s or ’90s, and estimates the spill lasted a few hours. A department spokesman confirmed Friday that external corrosion caused the pipe to break.

This isn’t the first time this particular concrete pipe has had problems. In 2013, there was a break in the 16-inch main, also due to corrosion.

Ko Olina residents were asked to cut back laundry and dishwasher use until repairs were completed, but many hotel guests in the area said they were not asked to conserve.

“I did talk to a manager at a Ko Olina hotel and they said it hasn’t affected them much and they are doing as much as they can to conserve water,” said Honolulu City Councilmember Kymberly Marcos Pine. She says there has been an improvement in the city’s environmental department’s response times.

Kahikina said she didn’t have an estimate on how much the work will cost, but we did learn a consultant will be hired to do an assessment of the pipe.