State addressing sewage spill

KAPA‘A — The storm earlier this week may be over, but it continues to cause problems for Kaua‘i residents.

The sewer lift station at Kapa‘a Public Housing on Malu Road has overflowed, prompting state workers to perform a “controlled spill,” according to state officials.

“We have a sewer lift station there that lifts the sewage from our property to the county main line,” Nicholas Birck, chief planner at Hawai‘i Public Housing Authority, said on Thursday. “Basically, the heavy rains caused an influx of storm water into the system.”

As a result, the normal flow of sewage had the storm water added to it, he said.

“It overwhelmed the capacity of the sewer lift station to keep lifting the sewage up to the main line,” said Birck, adding that state workers opened a valve and discharged some of the sewage into a retention pond and chlorinated the discharged sewage to “clean it up and make sure it doesn’t create a contamination situation.”

He said the sewage did not spill into the houses. “They did this to prevent it from backing up into the housing,” Birck said.

A press release sent by Birck earlier on Thursday morning states that if the “controlled spill” had not been performed, the wastewater would have backed up into the public housing units.

State staff discharged some of the sewage onto the ground near the lift station, chlorinated it and barricaded the area to protect the public, Birck said in the release.

“Staff is monitoring the site for several days and discharging wastewater as needed to help the pumps keep up with the influx and storm water and wastewater.” he said in the release. “HPHA staff is working with residents to make sure no wastewater backs up into units and no contamination of the environment occurs due to the wastewater spill.”

In a phone interview later in the day, Birck said he wasn’t sure of what would happen to the wastewater discharged into the “retention pond,” but it might evaporate or leach into the ground.

“I would have to check with the maintenance guy, but I think that’s what happens,” he said.

Visit www.hcdch.hawaii.gov or call Birck at 1(808) 832-4692 for more information.

• Léo Azambuja, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) or lazambuja@ thegardenisland.com.

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