Sewage dumping out of a popular shopping center

UPDATE: Department of Health lifts sewage warning signs for Ala Wai Canal

It is a stinky mess.

Sewage was leaking out of a popular shopping center for hours on Saturday, and it wasn’t until KHON2 began investigating that something was done about it.

KHON2 drove by the McCully Shopping Center around 1:30 p.m. and noticed water pooling in the parking lot and streets.

We thought it was a water main break, so we followed it to its source and found out a dirty secret.

Water main breaks are no stranger to the McCully area but this time, it’s not water flowing down the street.

“I seen toilet paper all in the water,” says Kimberly Tambra, a customer at the McCully Shopping Center.

You can see and smell it to know it’s not clean.

“It’s gross and we live over here! I have a baby and it’s spraying everywhere,” McCully resident Claudeen Fears said.

People are driving, biking, and even walking through it.

“Yeah, splashing it all over people,” points out Tambra.

KHON2 followed the wastewater to its source and found a plumber behind the McCully Shopping Center snaking the pipes.

He said he received a call from the shopping center Saturday morning that toilet paper and paper towels may have caused a clog.

The plumber who is working on the problem says the source is the pipes at the McCully Shopping Center’s restrooms. Yet the restrooms are still open. People are still flushing the toilets, adding to the problem.

In fact, there was no notification anywhere.

Shopping center security said the wastewater had been spilling onto the streets since 10:30 a.m. Saturday, four hours had already passed.

“The property owner should have immediately called someone. Warning signs should have been posted immediately,” says Carrol Cox, with Envirowatch.

So KHON2 decided to make some calls ourselves, starting with 911.

Then, we called the state health department and city department of environmental services, all of them hearing about it for the first time.

At around 4 p.m. a city crew arrived to check things out, but left shortly after.

They said it was not in their jurisdiction, because it’s private property, so it’s between McCully Shopping Center and the state to clean it up.

“They need to change, the state and city, need to put somebody on duty 24/7 and with a number that’s visible, that you’re able to call and get a response,” state Cox, who has seen similar spills occur frequently around Oahu.

While the parties work out whose responsible to clean up this mess…the public is the one who is left to suffer with the stench.

“They’re just pushing it onto the streets. That’s horrible, that’s just horrible,” adds Fears.

City crews say something similar happened at the same location within the past six months.

Calls to the shopping center management were not returned.

KHON2 will be following this story and let you know who steps up to clean this mess.

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