Saturday, December 27, 2008


More than one million gallons of undisinfected sewage discharged on Oahu

by Larry Geller

From the Advertiser breaking news,

Last night's power outage shut down ultraviolet disinfection units at the City's Wahiawa and Sand Island Wastewater Treatment Plants before backup diesel generators engaged.

The UV units were inoperable at Wahiawa WWTP for 16 minutes (6:46 – 7:02 p.m.), while at Sand Island WWTP the units were down 20 minutes (6:30 – 6:50 p.m.). [Honolulu Advertiser, More than one million gallons of partially treated wastewater discharged, 12/27/08]

So what’s the disappeared news? What’s missing is the question about why the diesel generators did not cut in immediately, and/or why the discharge was not automatically stopped until they were going.

Yes, it is possible and common for backup generators to be operational without a 20-minute delay. Did someone have to go outside, put fuel in the tank and turn a crank?? Sheesh. Diesel generators can cut in automatically.

Except maybe in Hawaii.

So there are more questions lawmakers might ask. Again I suggest, if federal money becomes available, let’s get this place fixed up.



Larry, you're asking too many logical questions.

There is no way they can stop the discharge at Sand Island WWTP. Where would it go instead? It's not like they have empty million gallon tanks sitting around. Now maybe they could have switched to the emergency generators when the first brownout hit instead of waiting until the main power feed went down to switch over to the emergency generators. Even when the EGs come on line, the lamps need some time to reach full disinfection power.

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