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EPA Issues Compliance Order to the City and County of Honolulu on Two Oahu Streams

Release Date: 7/3/2003
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, (808) 541-2711

Order requests information about sewage spills from wastewater collection system into Kalihi and Nu'uanu streams

HONOLULU The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently ordered the City and County of Honolulu to provide additional records and information of sewage spills into Kalihi and Nu'uanu streams.

At the end of August, the city will need to submit a report to the EPA and the Hawai'i Department of Health containing a list of sewage spills into the Kalihi and Nu'uanu streams from April 1998 to April 2003.

The order also requires the city to report what maintenance and repair measures have been taken on the sewage pipes in the Kalihi and Nu'uanu stream areas to control the sewage spills, and to develop plans to eliminate spills in the two stream's watersheds.

"As many of Oahu's streams flow through densely populated areas, it's important for the city to place a priority on repairing pipes that have chronic spills,"said Alexis Strauss, director for the EPA Pacific Southwest Region's Water Division. "We'll work with the city to ensure that its sewer repair program prevents the types of spills that are happening at Kalihi and Nu'uanu streams."

Inspectors from the EPA and the Health Department believe the spills may have resulted from leaks in old and deteriorated sewer pipes near both streams. The order cites 33 spills to the Kalihi and Nu'uanu streams since April 1998.

Both streams are known to be contaminated with pathogenic bacteria, and the city has posted signs warning people to avoid contact with the contaminated water. A person coming into contact with contaminated water could experience gastrointestinal infections, and skin or ear infections.

A 1995 consent decree agreement between the EPA and the City and County of Honolulu requires the city to implement a 20-year sewer rehabilitation and replacement program. The city is now in the fourth year of its $885,000,000 program to repair, replace and upgrade old sewer pipes and pump stations. The EPA and Health Department are working with the city to ensure that the current program will prevent the types of chronic spills that are happening at Kalihi and Nu'uanu streams.
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