No end to frustration as Mapunapuna businesses brace for new wave of king tides

The frustration for workers and business owners in Mapunapuna continues to grow as flood problems persist.

With king tides again expected this week, they know they have their work cut out for them. They say the solution provided by the city is not working, and the problem is made worse with bureaucracy.

We went back there Wednesday because we were told last month that solutions were in the works, but we saw nothing had changed.

“It’s just extra work, that’s what it is, a lot of extra work and a lot of headache,” said Joshua Caser, manager at Medallion Carpets.

Caser says water has to be pumped out of his loading dock every week.

About a block away, high tide has about a foot of water on Kilihau Street fronting U Haul Hawaii.

“There’s a lack of urgency,” said owner Kaleo Alau. “You would think if it was important to somebody or more important to somebody, they would be doing more to help out the community.”

The city installed what’s known as duck-bill valves to help prevent flooding back in 2011. Two valves cost $600,000.

“It helped for maybe about two or three months,” said Cazer. “It only helped because it didn’t bring the water all the way up the street.”

After last month’s king tides, the city told us crews would be cleaning out the valves this month.

When we checked with the city Wednesday, we got a statement saying the valves were cleaned out in the morning, and both valves were working as designed.

“I haven’t seen anybody. I’m not saying it hasn’t been done. I’m just saying I haven’t seen anybody,” said Alau. “The problem hasn’t gotten any better.”

The drainage ditch is another part of the problem. Sandbags have been placed to try and prevent it from overflowing.

The state Department of Hawaiian Homelands wants to dredge it to help, but it’s still waiting for a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers.

After making calls to both agencies, we learned that DHHL sent the permit on April 27, but the Army Corps of Engineers did not acknowledge getting the application until June 19, nearly two months later.

A spokesman says there was an internal communication problem and the application sent by email was not checked until much later.

He adds that it’s moving forward, but needs approval from the state Department of Health before the drainage ditch can be cleaned out.

KHON2 reached out to the health department to see how long the approval will take. We’ll let you know when we get a response.

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