Officials to test waters after tsunami-related sewage spills
Maui County officials this morning will take water samples around Kahului, Paukukalo and Napili after sewage overflowed following Saturday's tsunami threat.
Warning signs were posted yesterday and people were warned to stay out of the water.
County officials had hoped to test the water yesterday, but were prevented by heavy rains. Maui's Department of Environmental Management will work with the state Department of Health to determine when the areas will be safe to enter.
The sewage spills began after wastewater pump stations were shut down from Saturday's tsunami threat to prevent saltwater from permanently damaging pump stations that were running live with electrical power, said Dave Taylor, chief of the county's wastewater division.
"Repairs could take up to several months or longer," Taylor said. "During repairs we would have had to cope with raw sewage impacting our beaches and ocean and low-lying neighborhoods would have no sewer service."
While power was down, sewage overflowed at four pump stations in Wailuku, Kahului and Napili.
"We weighed the difference between a temporary effect versus long-term damage that and chose a temporary shut down rather than put our community through the dilemma of long term loss of sewer service," Taylor said.
The spills affected areas around Kahului, the ocean fronting Hale Nanea and some of the drainage ditches near the 24 Hour Fitness gym, Paukukalo and Napili.
State officials said wastewater spills at Hawaiian Homes, Napili No. 4 and A&B pump stations reached state waters.
Maui County work crews yesterday were disinfecting the spill sites and also cleaned up spills at the Waiehu and Wailuku stations, which did not reach state waters.