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A Honolulu street is in a stinky situation. A sewer line that runs between several homes is overflowing.
But, the city can’t touch it and residents want to know why.
This isn’t the first time this has happened and residents thought the city had it under control.
Turns out the pipe is private, so the problem is all theirs.
As we learned, several other neighborhoods are in the same boat.
Not a welcome sight to wake up to… Raw sewage overflowing outside your home.
“The percolation, the water coming up, overflowing in this area here and draining into the holes,” said Larry Hurst, Elm Street resident.
Larry Hurst says it’s been stinking up Elm street near McKinley High School for 2 days now.
“Oh i’m positive it’s going to flood tomorrow, there’s no doubt about it,” said Hurst.
He would know… He saw the same thing 10 years ago. The city came out and told Larry something about the sewage pipe he wasn’t expecting.
“Apparently in the 1940’s or 50’s when all his was built it wasn’t signed over to the city,” Hurst stated.
That meant the pipe was privately owned by the surrounding properties. And the city couldn’t touch it for liability reasons.
But, Larry says after some negotiations and further inspections he was told the city would assume ownership.
“The DES said the line is fine we’ll assume ownership of the line no more problems and there hasn’t been a problem for ten years,” said Hurst.
Until Thursday, he called the city for help. But, again a quick inspection of the manhole, found the problem was out of their hands. City records show the city never assumed ownership of the pipe. Leaving Larry and his neighbors to seek out their own plumber.
“I think it’s another clerical error, they didn’t check it off,” concluded Hurst.
The City says this situation is not unusual. There are pockets of the island where sewer lines are privately owned – including on Department of Hawaiian Homelands, and in neighborhoods of Waimanalo and Waianae.
If you are wondering if you may be sitting on a privately owned sewer pipe, the department of planning and permitting has that info.