10th Ave. reopens after Palolo water main break

All lanes of 10th Avenue were back open in Palolo Friday night after Board of Water Supply crews completed repairs on a 16-inch water main break.

The break initially occurred just after 6 a.m. Thursday near the Hinahina Street intersection.

Water gushed for nearly two hours, cutting service to 23 homes.

Crews worked through the night to cut out and replace the broken section of pipeline and restored water to all customers by 8 a.m. Friday. But it took several more hours for crews to repair and repave the road.

The Board of Water Supply said it wasn’t as simple as shutting off a valve to stop the water. Instead, crews had to use a certain method to shut it off, so it didn’t cause problems throughout the entire system.

“Part of the issue is making sure that by shutting off certain valves, it doesn’t flow too quickly to other areas, therefore causing other disruptions,” said spokeswoman Shawn Nakamoto. “They have to do it in a manner that protects the rest of the pipe system.”

Even though the water main break happened in the exact same spot last year, this time, the break left a gaping hole at the corner of 10th Avenue and Hinahina Street, swallowing up the Costa family’s truck.

“The problems that keep occurring, I don’t know. You can just look at that and you can tell it’s either old pipes or something is not done right,” Sala Costa said. “It’s just frustrating and it took so long to fix it (last year). So, they finally did and this happens again.”

The Costas just got their yard fixed days ago after it was destroyed by the break of a year ago.

It was such a problem that neighbor Kimo Smigielski has taken action. “I actually installed this sump pump last year when the previous water main broke and flooded my back yard, destroyed my yard, ruined my appliances, outdoor furniture,” he said.

It’s a problem that has frustrated Palolo residents asking for relief.

“The frustration is it’s in the exact same location,” Smigielski said. “So did they do a good job the first time? Did they do the right job the first time?”

The 16-inch cast iron pipe was installed in 1964 and had been identified and scheduled for replacement as part of a Palolo Water System Improvements Part IV project, the utility said.

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