Skip

Waikiki Stinks
March 29, 2006 2:19 AM   Subscribe

Waikiki Stinks -- Millions of gallons of raw sewage are flowing into the ocean at the edge of Waikiki Beach. Sewage overflow is becoming a common part of Hawai'i winters. This annual sewage and rain runoff has raised serious concerns about health, reef devastation, and shark attacks. Surfers are pissed. The business community, meanwhile, is euphoric over the raging construction boom that is changing the Honolulu skyline, and lining pockets. Although the sewage/runoff has caused the state to be heavily fined by the Feds, there is no buzz about how this same island infrastructure will support the increased flushing of all the new high rises being built.
posted by Surfurrus (18 comments total)

 
Well, anything with the direct runoff of the Ala Wai is significantly nastified (bowls), but other spots in town seem to just be a little less clear. Couple days ago Cliffs was actually not-shallow-as-hell for a change, which was kinda cool.

I always figured the cool thing about Hawaii is that the thousands of miles of surrounding Pacific Ocean pretty much filtered out (absorbed and diminished?) all the nasty that our tiny little communities could throw at it (water, air, etc). Is this not the case, save a couple days of lingering runoff in the most dense of areas threatening only the tourists (Waikiki?).
posted by GooseOnTheLoose at 2:44 AM on March 29, 2006


It's a shame. Is Maui being affected?
posted by narebuc at 5:10 AM on March 29, 2006


That's an interesting question, GooseOnTheLoose. I don't know either but I'm curious to see what others say. Over time I'm sure all that crap will diffuse out into the Pacific and local concentrations will go way down, but how quickly this will happen I have no idea. There has to be a point, however, where these events happen often enough (or the baseline pollution levels become so high) that the problem becomes persistent. This sort of thing is the reason why the other islands appeal so much more to me than Oahu does.
posted by Songdog at 6:15 AM on March 29, 2006


be prepared for multi hundreds of million dollar sewage treatment plants and miles long outfall pipes. And water bills to rival some electric bills. as you may recall Bush Sr. made Boston clean up the harbor which was subject to massive amounts of raw sewerage and untreated waste water... Results: The average water bill in greater Boston is $710.00. of course the harbor is cleaner, but that has led to other more natural problems like a 3 mile wide colony of brown algea. link to web.mit.edu/newsoffice/tt/1991/sep11/25307.html
posted by Gungho at 6:55 AM on March 29, 2006


Gungho - the 'average water bill in Boston' is pretty meaningless without knowing over what time that bill pays for, and if that's the average single family water bill or if that includes commercial bills etc.
posted by raedyn at 7:01 AM on March 29, 2006


Some beach towns on the Jersey Shore (used to?) store all the "waste" from the entire summer of vacationers and then pump it out into the ocean at the end of the summer, making for many ill Fall/Winter surfers.
posted by shoepal at 7:14 AM on March 29, 2006


On the plus side, the saying "up the Ala Wai without a paddle" is swiftly becoming a SFW version of the classic "shit creek" cliche.
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:31 AM on March 29, 2006


Each MWRA community sets its own water and sewer rates for residential and business customers. Rates vary considerably among communities due a variety of local factors. The average household in the core communities uses approximately 63,000 gallons per year. Core community households consuming this volume would see an average annual bill of about $500. For a larger single-family home using 90,000 gallons per year it is estimated that the average annual water/sewer bill in FY01 will be about $710, an increase of $29 from FY00. in other words in FY 01 A gallon of drinking water from the tap in the MWRA service area now averages about eight/tenths of a cent. A toilet flush costs from 1.2 to 3 cents to flush depending on toilet size. That was 2001. Today A gallon of drinking water from the tap in the MWRA service area now averages about nine/tenths of a cent. Flushing a toilet will cost from 1.4 to 4 cents depending on toilet size.
posted by Gungho at 7:52 AM on March 29, 2006


I always figured the cool thing about Hawaii is that the thousands of miles of surrounding Pacific Ocean pretty much filtered out (absorbed and diminished?) all the nasty that our tiny little communities could throw at it

Yeah, so did most folks ... up to the late 60's most of the sewage was just pumped directly into the open ocean. I remember being in a boat off Sand Island and seeing line between the ocean and the brown water. The current didn't take it too far too fast.

BTW, the stuff you can see and smell is only half of it. The pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals are probably even more deadly. Some are odorless, colorless. They can cause neurological and even ... uh ... brain damage ... Duuuuude.
posted by Surfurrus at 8:04 AM on March 29, 2006


Is Maui being affected?

Maui hasn't had nearly the same amount of rain (mainly Kauai and O'ahu are being slammed), and is not nearly as populated as O'ahu (about 850,000 on O'ahu?). They deal with the same post-rain runoff issues though.
posted by Surfurrus at 8:09 AM on March 29, 2006


... water bills to rival some electric bills...

This is why I link to the stoires of recent leaps in construction activity. We saw this kind of rabid construction in the 60s and we nearly lost the islands then. This new boom is being applauded (Republican Governor? Corrupt State Legislature? Anti environment Mayor?).

The building boom is the real disaster -- No infrastructure. No support for more population.

And, btw, the depletion of our water aquifers has been top news for the past decade. We are an island; it isn't like we are going to be able to pump more water in from another state!

Water is a hot issue (no matter how much it costs).
posted by Surfurrus at 8:17 AM on March 29, 2006


"up the Ala Wai without a paddle"

LOL

(Funnier even since paddlers still practice there!!)
posted by Surfurrus at 8:18 AM on March 29, 2006


I always figured the cool thing about Hawaii is that the thousands of miles of surrounding Pacific Ocean pretty much filtered out (absorbed and diminished?) all the nasty that our tiny little communities could throw at it (water, air, etc).

Not at all. Most of the ocean is essentially a desert- the inshore areas, reefs and the like are the most productive areas and most species rely heavily on them for at least part of their life cycle. You fuck up the coastal areas and you fuck up the entire ocean. Also Hawaii has a huge fishing industry and the ghost nets and other debris are quite an issue. Plus you have your currents backwards, Hawaii is one of several collecting grounds for trash dumped elsewhere.

Dilution is not the solution to pollution
posted by fshgrl at 8:42 AM on March 29, 2006


Plus you have your currents backwards

Very interesting link, thank you. I am lucky enough to call Maui my hometown, and hearing about people just destroying the ocean is rather depressing. I think people simply don't realize the basic importance of healthy shorelines/coral reefs/sealife and its impact on the rest of the foodchain.
posted by rooftop secrets at 10:08 AM on March 29, 2006


Corie: We used to live right off of the Ala Wai, and it's always been com­pletely polluted.
Theives used to drive their cars into it because they knew the police wouldn't go in after them, and then they'd need tetnus shots.
The best part is that in Hawaiian, Ala Wai means "fragrant waters".
It's gross.

posted by Espoo2 at 2:57 PM on March 29, 2006


Flush toilets are just wrong.
posted by flabdablet at 3:10 PM on March 29, 2006


Monterey CA has a similar issue... God forbid you want an additional bath or toilet in your house, but feel free to build a hotel with 400 of them. The money runs up the hill, the overflow down...
posted by buzzman at 3:15 PM on March 29, 2006


Thanks Gungho, that helps me understand.
posted by raedyn at 6:38 AM on March 30, 2006


« Older bald eagle cam   |   unf. Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post