Media release | Hawaii County Dept. of Environmental Management
County Department of Environmental Management (DEM) crews successfully repaired a leaking wastewater pipe beneath the ground at Hilo International Airport early Saturday morning.
The repair avoided release of untreated wastewater into the ocean that would have caused the closure of beaches in Keaukaha.
The leak was discovered a week ago on state-owned land at the airport where a 24-inch county force main, which carries untreated wastewater to the Hilo Wastewater Treatment Plant, is located about four feet below ground.
Airport security officials first noticed wastewater on the ground above the pipe last week. The wastewater was confined to state-owned airport property and did not affect normal aiport operations. No residents or businesses were affected.
DEM’s Wastewater Division and Isemoto Contracting crews dug down to the pipe late Friday and discovered water leaking from a four-inch crack. Workers were able to clamp the leak tight, shutting it off, and the pipe was encased in concrete by 3 a.m. Saturday.
“We are extremely grateful for the hard work and dedication of our Wastewater Division employees,” said Frank DeMarco, County Director of Environmental Management. ”They put in long hours on this plan to save our shoreline from the impact of untreated wastewater spilling into the ocean.
“In the end we were very fortunate, but it was only because of the planning, preparation and skill of our County employees. We also appreciate the support and cooperation of the County Department of Water Supply, the state Department of Transportation Airports Division, and our private-sector partners such as Isemoto Contracting,” DeMarco said.