Last updated: 04:13 PM ET, Tue August 25 2015

Several Miles of Beaches in Honolulu Closed Due to Sewage Spill

Impacting Travel | Donald Wood | August 25, 2015

Several Miles of Beaches in Honolulu Closed Due to Sewage Spill

A tropical storm that hit the Hawaiian Islands caused a sewage spill Monday that shut down much of Waikiki Beach in Honolulu.

According to a report from Caleb Jones of The Associated Press, Tropical Storm Kilo hammered the islands of Hawaii over the last several days, resulting in the city's sewage system overflowing and sending 500,000 gallons of wastewater spewing from manholes.

In response, Honolulu's director of environmental services Lori Kahikina told the media that the beaches have been closed and people are not permitted to swim in the contaminated water. She expects it to be several days before the ocean is clean enough to go swimming again.

This is a heavy blow to Hawaiian tourism, as Waikiki is one of the top destinations in the state and home to some of the biggest hotels on the islands. Officials are advising tourists to avoid a four-mile section of beach between Kapahulu Avenue in Waikiki to Point Panic in Kakaako.

As far as the cause of the overflowing wastewater, Kahikina explained to the AP that it was a mix of several different factors, namely leaves and debris blocking storm drains and residents opening manhole covers to let the storm water drain into the sewage system.

Both caused an influx of water that the sewage system was unable to handle, resulting in a major backup that spilled into the ocean water.

This is not the first time Waikiki has dealt with a similar problem.

In 2006, the city was temporarily shut down when 48 million gallons of raw sewage poured from a broken wastewater pipe into the Ala Wai Canal, which is next to many of Waikiki's hotels and condominiums.

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