Environmental watchdog claims pipe at Kailua treatment facility is leaking sewage
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A longtime environmental watchdog claims that a pipe is leaking wastewater and solid waste at the troubled Kailua Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant.
He’s filed a complaint letter with state health officials.
The facility has been the subject of complaints for several years after water with high bacterial counts was released several times over the years into Kailua Bay.
But Carroll Cox of Envirowatch said he supports a Clean Water Act violation against the city because of the leak. He said it’s just part of a long list of problems there.
The city environmental services director wrote Cox, saying that one of the tanks connected to the pipe was “being repaired for a valve and pump issue.”
“Water being introduced, contaminated with polymers and bacteria and whatever, going into the ground or leaking into the ground — they didn’t say that. They talked about a valve,” Cox said.
Cox wrote a letter to the state’s Clean Water Branch about the leak. He also said oil-based polymers to treat wastewater at the plant are also an environmental threat.
The city said it has been making improvements, including installing a new ultraviolet disinfection system to remove bacteria from sewage.
It would replace a similar system that was decommissioned by the city several years ago.
“They’ve already tried this method on a consent decree five years ago and it didn’t work,” Cox said. “Now why on earth would we be bothering ourselves, as a taxpayer, going spending $40 million or more?”
City Environmental Services Director Roger Babcock wrote a detailed letter in response to Cox’s claims, saying that work on the new UV system will still move ahead.
He also said the city will begin using a different polymer to treat the wastewater.
Cox said it’s the first time he’s received such a detailed response from the city. But he’s still not satisfied.
“So many broken parts, when you put them together, then you have dysfunctional deficiencies, ineffectiveness of the operations,” he said.
“Quit making excuses. Be more transparent.”
A member of the state Clean Water Enforcement Branch enforcement section emailed Cox, saying that it would look into his claims.
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