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article imageHeavy rains trigger sewage spill on Hawaii's Waikiki Beach

By Karen Graham     Aug 25, 2015 in Environment
Honolulu - Health officials are warning tourists and local beach-goers to stay out of the water on Hawaii's Waikiki Beach after heavy rains caused a 500,000 gallon sewage spill.
Sewage poured from manholes at Ala Moana, Kailua, Kaneohe and Kalanianaole Highway in Aina Hina forcing the closure of most of Waikiki Beach from Kuhio Beach groin to Point Panic, according to the Star Advertiser.
The spill is being blamed on the heavy rains brought on by tropical storm Kilo. The Department of Environmental Services says the largest spill occurred at the Moana Wastewater Pump Station, where an estimated 500.000 gallons of wastewater escaped through manholes at Ala Moana Boulevard and Atkinson Drive.
A Brown Alert has been issued and city officials are posting warning signs along the beach. Lifeguards and police are present to also warn people to stay out of the water because of the contamination.
Lori Kahikina, director of the city's Department of Environmental Services told NBC News, "What you have behind me is a major sewage backup. With the heavy rains, it overwhelmed our system."
Newser quoted Shayne Enright, a spokeswoman for the city's Department of Emergency Services as cautioning that the ocean could be very dangerous at this time. "We don't know right now what is in the water," she says. "You could get a serious infection, get extremely sick, or even worse." The beach will remain closed for several days with the waters are being tested by state environmental health officials.
Tropical storm Kilo's heavy downpour also caused flooding that closed schools, roads and a number of city facilities. City officials are saying a few residents are partly to blame for the sewage spill. A number of manhole covers were removed to prevent homes and cars from flooding after the storm drains backed up. Rainwater then flowed into the sewage system, causing it to overflow.
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