Windward Oahu families hit with overflowing sewage, plumbing problems

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Plumbing problems are causing health concerns for a Windward Oahu family.

The family reached out to us using the Report It feature on our website. They told us raw sewage was flowing out of their toilet for several hours Friday.

Travis Baqui walked into his cousin’s home Friday night and couldn’t believe what was happening.

“When we came back in the house, we heard running water and the water was just gushing into the toilet,” he told KHON2.

The problem wasn’t just inside the bathroom. Residents say sewage actually spilled from underneath another house and into the driveway.

Since then, the water has been turned off until the plumbing can be fixed. Six homes in the area do not have running water and those families cannot use their bathrooms.

Resident Angel Sunio lives with her husband and four kids. She says two of them got sick over the weekend.

“Right now I’m really frustrated and I’m really hurt that the children are bring ignored,” she said. “We’re driving down the road to restaurants, to the parks to use the bathroom, to take the kids. We shower at the beach park. It’s cold water so already I’m really upset. I don’t know what to do.”

What are renters supposed to do and what can they expect from their landlords?

We reached out to the property manager, who says she’s doing everything possible to get the plumbing fixed, but the landlord has not given her approval for the families to stay in a hotel.

We asked the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs if the landlord is required to pay for this, but were told that as long as the landlord is doing everything possible to fix the problem — and the landlord didn’t cause the problem — then the landlord is not required to pay.

Sunio called the state Department of Health, which inspected the site. There’s a cesspool on the property, but the health department says that’s not the problem. The clog is caused by baby wipes being flushed down the toilet, and the property manager says she has told tenants repeatedly not to do that.

The health department says inspectors will go back to the site to see if any violations occurred regarding the sewage spill outside, and officials are still reviewing the plans to see if the cesspool has enough capacity for all the homes in that lot.

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