By Kristine Uyeno – KHON 2-News. All traffic cameras damaged in a construction mishap Wednesday night were back up and running Friday. Crews worked day and night Thursday to restore 101 of the city’s 265 traffic cameras in Leeward, West and Windward Oahu. A contractor for the Honolulu rail transit project accidentally damaged a fiber optics line Wednesday night near Aloha Stadium, according to the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation.
No one was hurt, but the damage temporarily affected nearly half of the city’s traffic camera coverage, including some of the island’s most congested roads in Aiea, Pearl City, Ewa, Kapolei and Kaneohe. “It’s uncommon to have half out, but you know it’s a construction project, accidents do happen,” said Ty Fukumitsu, Honolulu Transportation Services. Cameras in other areas, like town and East Oahu, were not affected.
As crews worked to restore the cameras, the city used the state’s GoAkamai.org website to monitor traffic along with Google maps. If those website showed congestion, “I would actually have to send personnel out there to do some timing adjustments because we need to see what’s going on. We don’t want to guess and guess wrong, so we do have personnel on standby, actually this afternoon, to… physically go to a site and if need to adjust the signal timing,” Fukumitsu said.
City officials said they had other eyes on the road, including the Honolulu Police Department, HART and other drivers who will call them with updates. Contractor Kiewit was conducting utility relocation work along Kamehameha Highway shortly before midnight when the cable was damaged, and will pick up the tab for repairs. HART and Kiewit apologize to drivers for any inconvenience.
100+ traffic cameras restored after construction damage…
Crews complete repairs to water main break in Waikiki…
By KHON-2 Web Staff.
Board of Water Supply crews have completed repairs to an 8-inch water main break in Waikiki. The incident was first reported at around 7:20 a.m. on Helumoa Road off Lewers Street.
The road was closed while crews isolated the break and installed a bypass that has restored water service to businesses in the area. All roads reopened just after 9 a.m. Thursday. The 8-inch water main was originally installed in 1971.
Honolulu: Crews complete repairs to water main break…
Leaks, spills still happening in Hawaii –KITV-4 Honolulu Paul Drewes.
Many are concerned about gas prices going up, but there is another concern in Hawaii: fuel going down from leaks in underground storage tanks. The recent Red Hill leaks drew a lot of attention to underground fuel storage in the islands. The massive tanks are the biggest in the state, but not the only ones around. The Department of Health monitors many more.
“We have about 1,000 facilities with underground storage tanks like gas stations, emergency generators for hospitals, and for hotels,” said Steven Chang, with the Solid and Hazardous Waste Branch of the Dept. Of Health.
A typical gas station may have three 10,000-gallon tanks underground. The location under paved lots makes it hard to spot a leak. So, along with monthly tank monitoring – some sites have weekly, even daily, leak detection tools. New tanks are also required to be double-walled, which can contain many leaks.
But a number of sites still have old storage containers. “Unfortunately about a third of our inventory are single-walled tanks, fiberglass or steel. That is a problem because these older tanks aren’t used to the new types of fuels we’re trying to put in,” said Chang.
Ethanol and even biofuels can harm some of those tanks and lead to leaks. Fuel can also be spilled into the ground when tanks are over filled or when pipes crack or break. Over the past three decades, the state has dealt with thousands of spills and even now with leak detection devices roughly 13 percent of the state’s underground storage tanks have problems.
“We’re down to about 130 sites we are actively monitoring and working with owners and operators to clean up those sites,” said Chang. Why is monitoring underground fuel tanks so important? Because of what is deeper underground. “When you have underground tanks sitting over aquifers used for drinking water, if those contaminants get in the ground they can move and get into our drinking water,” said Chang.
The state requires spills near groundwater to be cleaned up but other leaks may be left alone if they are in certain types of soil, like clay, that can contain the fuel. Bacteria and other factors will eventually help break down those spills, but that can take years and leave communities with contaminated sites.
Govenor Ige talks with EPA about cesspool regulations…
KITV Honolulu, Hawaii —Hawaii is the only state that still allows homes to be built with cesspools. An estimated 90,000 homes across the islands from Diamond Head to Puna are not hooked up to city and county sewer systems. Last year, Gov. Neil Abercrombie left office without signing new rules into law that would have ended the practice. The law could have forced property owners with cesspools to upgrade the next time the home went up for sale.
This week when Gov. David Ige sat down with the Environmental Protection Agency, he had some explaining to do. “The EPA definitely has an end in sight for cesspools,” said Ige. Homeowners and realtors on several of the neighbor islands balked at the proposed changes. They maintain forcing them to get off cesspools would be a financial hardship. Ige says the EPA is not unsympathetic, but:
“They are committed to providing flexibility if there is a specific reason, but they are not willing to allow for a change in policy,” said Ige. To the EPA, it’s all about water quality. While some homes with cesspools are on the hillside, others are along the shoreline. Last year state health officials sent out the alarm about unusually high levels of bacterial counts in Kahaluu. At the time it was not clear if the E.coli was coming from wild animals or untreated human sewage.
Lawmakers will take up two bills: one to allow homeowners to tap low-interest loan to upgrade their systems and another to ban any new cesspool construction. Hawaii will have to face facts that the EPA wants results. “They were open to consider either working with us to develop timelines or other provisions that we would need to ensure that we can implement them in a reasonable manner,” said Ige.
Water main break and sinkhole in Halawa, road closed..
HALAWA (HawaiiNewsNow – 12/28/14)
A water main below Halawa Heights Road broke and caused a massive sink hole. 17 Board of Water Supply (BWS) customers are without water due to the eight-inch break at 99-646 Halawa Heights Road.
To make matters worse, the pipe break has also caused a giant sink hole which caused the shut-down of the Southbound (Makai) lane of Halawa Heights Road. A detour has been set up on Iwaiwa Street. The opening is about eight feet wide. One witness said the hole was “big enough to fit a Volkswagen inside.”
Just before 7:30 p.m. the BWS sent out water wagons to supply an alternate source of water to those affected by the pipe break. Officials saying those who can, should avoid the area. Repair crews are on scene and will work overnight to fix the pipe and restore the road.
Breaking News – Halawa SinkHole.. Copyright 2014 Hawaii News Now.
Discovery of Hawaiian iwi complicates construction of Laie Hotel…
Laie, Hawaii – Oahu (HawaiiNewsNow) By Lisa Kubota.
A sacred discovery is complicating the construction of a new hotel on Oahu’s North Shore. Workers found what are believed to be Hawaiian remains, or iwi, at the site of the future Courtyard by Marriott in Laie.
The new hotel is going up next to the Polynesian Cultural Center on the site of the old Laie Inn. The land manager said no bones were found during the archaeological survey for the environmental assessment that was completed before construction started earlier this year. On December 9, a subcontractor came across the bones while digging out the area for the hotel pool. The land manager said the workers notified the project’s archaeologist who then contacted the state.
“Basically immediately covered the bones, I understand, in some muslin cloth and put a lauhala basket cover over them,” explained Eric Beaver, president of Hawaii Reserves, Inc.
Hawaii News Now has learned that the workers found some teeth and part of a human jaw. Beaver said the subcontractor halted all construction around the pool which is in the middle of the hotel property. The State Historic Preservation Division is working with the project’s archaeologist and the Oahu Island Burial Council. There is no timeline for a decision by the state.
“I think they’re trying to determine whether the bones should be left in place or reinterred somewhere on the site or off the site,” said Beaver. Some are concerned that the discovery could be part of a larger burial site.
“I have no idea as to whether there are more bones in the area. I don’t get that sense so far from what we’ve heard, but we’re working with the contractor,” Beaver said. The 144-room hotel is slated to open next summer. Beaver said the project is still on schedule for now.
“With the holidays upon us and Christmas season, it’s probably at this point okay, but I think that my guess is probably in January they would like to have a determination made,” he said. Hawaii Reserves, Inc. prefers that the iwi be relocated to a cemetery in the community that the company also manages. HRI is in charge of the property belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Sinkhole redirects traffic by corner of Dole and East-West
Fadi Youkhana / Ka Leo O Hawai‘i
Sinkhole by East-West and Dole. Traffic is being redirected as a result of a sinkhole by the corner of Dole Street and East-West Road Monday evening.
University of Hawai‘i officials said they first caught sight of the sinkhole around 8:20 p.m. UH officials said the sinkhole appeared to be one foot deep, with a three-foot diameter and was concaving in.
Honolulu Police placed two flares around the sinkhole for passing vehicles and pedestrians. Police said that county officials were alerted of the sinkhole and will repair it sometime this evening.
Kalanianaole Hwy reopened in Waimanalo after sinkhole repair…
KHON NEWS – Honolulu, Hawaii
Kalanianaole Highway is back open Friday.
State crews spent the night fixing a large sinkhole in the road near Mekia Street in front of Shima’s Supermarket. The road was reopened at around 4:30 a.m.
While the hole did not look all that large on the surface, the state Department of Transportation said it was seven feet wide and six feet deep beneath the pavement.
Traffic was detoured and, because the highway is a road many rely on to get home, drivers were forced to sit in gridlock Thursday evening.
“Crazy. It’s the biggest, longest line I’ve seen in my life,” one driver said.
“We’ve been here (sitting in traffic) for 40, 45 minutes, maybe?” another driver said.
Officials said the hole was likely caused by a sewer pipe.
Copyright 2014 KHON2.
Sinkhole Locators: Hawaii Private Locators (808) 260-3558 www.UndergroundInspections.com
Remains of Japanese plane crew might lie on Hawaii golf course…
By Wyatt Olson – Stars and Stripes.
FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii — A local historian is convinced he’s located the site where a two-man Japanese dive-bomber crew crashed on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, and was buried nearby: the tony grounds of Hoakalei Country Club Golf Course in Ewa Beach.
“The responsible thing to do is at least make an attempt to find these guys,” said John Bond, a semi-retired Ewa resident who has labored for years to bring recognition to the largely forgotten Marine Corps Air Station Ewa and its role in the 1941 battle. “If they can’t find them, then put up a marker saying this is a crash site and remember that so-and-so was killed here. I don’t understand why that would be a problem.”
But the golf course’s owner, Haseko Development, has been less than receptive to the idea of an active search for the grave on the property, which the company announced in October was being sold to a Japanese firm. Haseko Vice President Sharene Saito Tam said the company has done all it was required to do in identifying culturally and archaeologically significant artifacts on the property during development and has found no evidence of such a grave. Further, she said, Bond does not have documentation that pinpoints the gravesite’s exact location.
As to placing a marker on the grounds, she said: “From the company’s point of view, if there was evidence that showed that to be the case, of course it would be considered, but at this point there is nothing like that. But to ask any landowner to put a marker that indicates a grave where you don’t know a grave exists does not seem appropriate or respectful of the people they are trying to name there.”
Of the roughly 60 Japanese troops who were killed or lost during the Dec. 7 attack, many were buried in various cemeteries on Oahu but were repatriated after the war. About 30 Japanese remain missing from that day.
One notable memorial to a Japanese airman stands in Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay on Oahu. A bronze plaque marks the spot where Lt. Fusata Iita, commander of the 3rd Aircraft Group of the Japanese Imperial Navy, crashed his plane on a hillside near Kansas Tower that morning. Iita’s body was long ago returned to Japan.
The defense attache with the Japan consulate in Honolulu said the case of the two Ewa airmen is “a difficult situation” for Japan because the site is private property and the owner says there’s no evidence to back up Bond’s assertion.
During the past few years, Bond and a group of historians specializing in the 1941 attack have gathered extensive documentation and photos about the crash site, which had been lost to time and land development.
Even Tom Dye, the archaeologist contracted by Haseko to monitor its land development, admitted that Bond and his colleagues have “done an incredible amount of work” in tracking down photos and accounts of the crash.
“They’ve found much more than I think anybody could have expected about this crash event,” Dye said. “But there’s just nothing yet that gets us a location that we could narrow things down and really make a concerted effort to look for a burial.”
Comparing old photographs and military reports from the time of the attack, Bond said he has calculated the crash site lies within a 50-yard radius of the golf course’s club house.
A Dec. 9, 1941, report by Capt. Lester Milz, with the 251st Coastal Artillery, noted that the badly burned bodies of two Japanese crewmen had been found and his men disposed of the remains. Two days a later, an Army staff officer visited Milz’s battery and wrote in his diary that he’d been told the airmen’s bodies had been buried in a “coral grave.”
“I knew they buried them in a sinkhole because that’s what we have out here,” Bond said of Ewa Plain, which is an ancient limestone field. “You don’t dig easily in this ground. It’s like concrete.”
Bond contends that burying bodies beside crash sites was common in that era.
“If you had a crash and couldn’t extract the people out, you just buried them by the plane,” he said.
Dye said that even if the exact crash site is pinpointed, there’s no direct evidence indicating where the bodies were buried.
“You really just have to guess at that point,” Dye said. “Mr. Bond perhaps is comfortable with guessing, but you’re not supposed to guess. We really don’t have any credible evidence to lead us to a place where we could productively search for remains of the two airmen.”
Bond suggested that ground-penetrating sonar could be used to detect the grave.
“GPR has highly evolved in the last few years,” he said. “They’ve used it on archaeological sites to find tombs. It will detect these sinkholes. It’s also used in old cemeteries.”
Dye, however, said that limestone subsurface is “a nightmare scenario for ground-penetrating sonar.”
“The problem you have with ground-penetrating radar is there are just a huge number of false positives,” Dye said. “You’d have to dig every single one of them up to find out what they were. It’s not specific enough to tell you, oh, that’s bone versus that’s a rock or that’s a root.”
Bond has written a request to the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, which is tasked with locating and retrieving the remains of U.S. servicemembers lost overseas, requesting that it take an active role in searching for the grave.
“Getting involved in another nation’s recovery event is not something we’d typically do unless it was in the course of one of our own investigations,” JPAC spokesman Lee Tucker said. The agency has in the past provided research assistance to the Japan Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare’s Social Welfare and War Victims Bureau, which oversees such recoveries.
Tucker said the Japanese government did not require JPAC’s assistance or approval in searching for remains in Hawaii.
But Takeshi Ogino, the defense attache at the Japan consulate in Honolulu, said Japan did not have a comparable agency such as JPAC to research and retrieve MIA remains in foreign countries. He said the consulate had not received an “official request” from either Bond or the Haseko group in regard to searching for the airmen’s grave or commemorating the crash site.
Haseko’s Tam said that if Bond produces “additional information and evidence that we can authenticate,” the company might consider further search.
But Bond contends that the time to actively search and recover the remains is now, as the 73rd anniversary of the attack nears.
“If a decent search was done they could be found,” he said.
By Nancy Cook Lauer
West Hawaii Today
Responding to public opposition, the state Department of Health dramatically watered down its proposed rules phasing out cesspools, but it’s unknown if Gov. Neil Abercrombie will sign the package before he leaves office Monday. The new rules would apply to just 13 percent of the 49,344 cesspools on Hawaii Island, and 22 percent of the 87,969 cesspools statewide.
Instead of requiring all cesspools be converted to septic systems upon the transfer of property, the new rules would apply only to cesspools within 750 feet of a sensitive water body or near a drinking water well. In addition, the grace period for a cesspool to be converted upon transfer of the property will be extended from six months to one year. And, the rules won’t apply to transfers of property where money doesn’t exchange hands, for example, between family members.
The Health Department also proposes to offer grants or no- or low-interest loans for the conversion process. Lots of 1 acre or more in new subdivisions will be allowed to have individual rather than gang septic systems. Exemptions may be granted for properties that can’t accommodate a septic system and leach field. “Pretty much we covered most of the concerns that were voiced during the public comment period,” Sina Pruder, chief of the department’s Wastewater Branch, told West Hawaii Today on Tuesday.
The Abercombie administration had pushed for the rule change to meet federal clean water requirements and to battle pollution of coastal waters and drinking water supplies caused by human waste bacteria. Hawaii is the only state in the nation that still allows new cesspools to be constructed. Hilo Realtor Robert Williams called the revisions, “a step in the right direction,” but he said the rules governing small subdivisions weren’t addressed. The revised rules would still require subdivisions of 15 homes or less to have a central septic system. The current rule allows cesspools for subdivisions of 50 homes or less.
Williams said the rules would make it difficult to construct affordable housing, another state priority. “It makes doing a subdivision between 15 and 50 lots not practicable,” Williams said. Gov.-elect David Ige, while on the campaign trail, had criticized the rule-making process and may be unlikely to sign the package either. “It’s ridiculous that they would go ahead, develop these rules and drop it on the counties without any prior conversations,” Ige said at an Oct. 9 gubernatorial forum in Hilo. “There needs to be more consultation from the very beginning.”
Ige may favor a legislative approach rather than a rule-making one, said Williams, who has been following the issue closely. A bill favored by the administration failed in the past legislative session. “It’s not 100 percent dead, but it seems that the governor’s not likely to sign this,” Williams said. “I’m hopeful that they take the topic up under the new administration and hopefully, it’s done better.” Calls to the governor’s office were not returned by press time Tuesday. The Health Department received more than 230 public comments. The proposed revised rules were published Nov. 13 and can be found at health.hawaii.gov/wastewater/home/public_notice.