Fighting flooding with pumps, community

KEKAHA — Dave Matthews and Mike Carr manned a pump that spewed water across the road from their home that was surrounded by water.

“Kekaha was built on a marsh,” Matthews said. “Apparently, they didn’t fill it in enough. The whole house is surrounded by water.”

Matthews said they’ve been manning the pump for about a week, running it for about eight to nine hours a day. That effort appeared to have paid off until last night.

“It was clear all day until about 5:30,” Balderson said. “And, then it started to rain. And it hasn’t let up yet.”

Matthews said that Wednesday night the septic system shut down, so they’ve been using the restrooms at nearby Kikiaola Small Boat Harbor.

Further down the street, a staff member at Kekaha School joked, “I’m afraid to flush the toilets.”

The elementary school was almost totally under water, with a county pump truck parked right outside the school’s fence with its pump running constantly.

Carol Shikada, the school’s principal, said that their septic system had started to smell, but was not closed down, or overflowing.

However, water separated the cafeteria from the rest of the school, and with just limited access, Shikada said they were feeding the students as best as they could, as the school’s staff collected the lunches and brought the meals to the students who were pretty much isolated to classrooms and the library.

She said that parents were coming to pick up the students early, and she was releasing students as parents came, but the school was open.

The school is closed today.

A large pond of deep water separated Kekaha School from the Ke Kula O Ni’ihau school across Kekaha Road, that school’s playground equipment lying under water that transformed the playground into a lake.

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