HONOLULU (KHON2) — A decade-long water leak on Oahu’s North Shore is in the process of being fixed.
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Officials estimate over one million gallons of water was being wasted each month at Dillingham Airfield, which is owned by the Army, and leased by the state.
Ownership and land management of Dillingham Airfield has been an issue itself for over a decade; and North Shore leaders have known about the leak, as well as the military, for over 11 years.
“Water is so important, we’re at a time right now where we’re in a drought, Maui is dry, Oahu is dry, we need water and we need to preserve it where we can,” explained Senator Brenton Awa (R) Kaneohe, Mokuleia, Schofield.
“This is so critical, every month since 2012 we’ve been losing over one million gallons of drinking water over in Mokuleia because of a leaking pipe underground at Dillingham Airfield,” he continued during a Sunday afternoon press conference at the state capitol.
Last week, the state and army met at Dillingham Airfield to discuss the leak.
On Sunday, the Army said leaks aren’t always easy to find and they weren’t sure where or how many leaks were underground.
“So the new technology, the leak detection, identifying the exact location allows the [state] team to come in and excavate in previously undisturbed areas right on top of the pipe and do what is an emergency repair,” explained U.S. Army Hawaii Garrison Commander Col. Steve McGunegle. “Whereas before we did not know the exact locations, it was a wholesale repair of the water system out there that we were looking at and that was much more extensive.”
The Army said improved teamwork and technology helped move the repair forward.
“Through this week we’ll get [the repair] done, we’ll start to look at other areas to see if we need to address it but after this week we will finish up repairs needed for that line,” said state transportation director Ed Sniffen.
This is Sniffen’s first year as director of the department.
Sniffen added that an archeologist will be on site throughout the repair.
Sen. Awa said he hopes this improved partnership between the state and the army can be utilized to save an additional 11 million gallons of water at Kaneohe Marine Base.
Sen. Awa said in that situation, the state hasn’t approved a military request for repurposed water for their golf course but hopes the Mokuleia repair will show the two agencies can work together.
KHON2 will follow up once the repair is complete.