Big rains overwhelm system and foul fabled beach.
Something on the order of 500,000 gallons of raw sewage flowed from manholes in Honolulu’s fabled Waikiki neighborhood yesterday and into storm drains and eventually to the ocean. Lifeguards warned ten minutes to stay out of the water. Despite round-the-clock warnings, however, some tourists and even locals are still going into the ocean.
“City officials said the problem stemmed from heavy rains from overnight and debris that got into the city’s sewer system. Plus they said some people illegally opened manholes in their neighborhoods to alleviate flooding, sending rainwater into the sewer system,” Hawaii News Now further reports. “The city also said the problem was exacerbated because a nearby pump station was closed for construction.” The sewer system has since been patched to avoid a repeat of this potential contamination, and the ocean will cleanse Waikiki Bay.
But as the recent release of contaminated wastewater into the Animas River in southwestern Colorado demonstrates, the after-effects of environment abuse linger in people’s memories and may affect travel plans for a long time.