Sewer mess repaired, cleaned

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Repair work to a sewer line on Leho Road has the intersection at Kuhio Highway closed. Motorists are encouraged to be mindful of the special traffic accomodations in place.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Monday morning traffic flows around the repair work being done to a sewer line at the intersection of Leho Road and Kuhio Highway in Wailua.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Repair work to a sewer line on Leho Road continues, Monday in Wailua.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Repair work to a sewer line on Leho Road closes access to Kuhio Highway at the entrance to the Hilton Garden Inn in Wailua. Hotel guests and employees are using Leho Road to access the resort from the entrance adjacent to the Wailua Golf Course.

LIHUE — Crews from the Department of Public Works finished laying a new sewer pipe at Kuhio Highway and Leho Drive Sunday night and began demobilizing as they wrapped up a days-long effort to repair and clean up a sewage spill and get traffic back to normal.

Officials anticipate the repaving of Leho Drive near Kuhio Highway in Wailua will be completed by this week.

Officials are continuing to implement two northbound lanes and one southbound lane on Kuhio Highway around the construction site on Leho Drive.

There will be no contraflow today as it is a state holiday.

The estimated 1,000-gallon spill was reported about 6:30 p.m. Thursday. An initial investigation revealed dirt and debris had entered a pipe due to erosion, causing pressure to build up, and the pipe burst.

As crews excavated the area to install the bypass system, they discovered old fill and utilities also played a role in the damage.

“At the beginning of the upstream manhole, we found some abandoned utility conduits encased in concrete that somehow, overtime, with gravity and vibration, had made its way close to our pipeline and caused a break in the pipeline that was ultimately the problem,” said Lyle Tabata, county acting engineer.

Tabata said they also found damage from old boulders that were used as fill in 1955. Back then, they didn’t keep track of fill materials like they do today, he said.

By Saturday, much of the contaminant from the sewage had been cleaned and a bypass system installed to prevent further spillage.

Public Works crews cleaned the seeping sewage by spraying a chlorine solution onto the area, Tabata said.

Over the weekend, they repaired the entire gravity sewer line from manhole to manhole, which should prevent further spills, but there are other things out of their control that can cause spills, Tabata said.

“Such as grease, when people dump grease into the sewer system, when they dump rags that aren’t supposed to be dumped, those things can cause harm,” he said.

At this point in the process, Tabata said he’s not sure what the total repair cost will be. Crews worked 24 hours a day to clean up the spill.

“My first charge was just to fix the line and get it back operating,” he said.

There were traffic delays around the construction site. Friday night, traffic was backed up to the Lihue Airport, and Friday morning, it was backed up through Kapaa.

According to the Hawaii Department of Transportation, on average about 32,000 vehicles travel on that area of Kuhio Highway per day in both directions.

  1. harry oyama November 6, 2018 5:52 am Reply

    Why does the county crews try to blame this sewage pipe failure on consumers throwing grease and rags into the system when in fact it was boulders that they used for backfill and abandoned encased utility conduits that caused this problem?

    So in reality it was county crews who failed to clean up are to blame, do you see any of these incompetent Union workers disciplined or fired from their jobs?

  2. kauaiis fun November 6, 2018 4:18 pm Reply

    Why is the infrastructure on Kauai is such poor shape when they take in 1.5 billion a year from tourists? Look at the Big Island. Their highways, bathrooms, overall infrastructure is superior to Kauai’s.

  3. Kootz November 6, 2018 11:19 pm Reply

    I’m interested to know if any of the spill contaminated the Wailua river..?

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