Resident says 30 inch water main break was like a tsunami

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Mel Choy was sitting inside his patio when the 30 inch water main broke under Haleaha Road just 50 yards away from his house.

“All I heard was a big boom and I saw fire in the sky. And when I looked, I saw the pole coming down, leaning, and the wires were getting all tangled and on fire,” Choy said.

He thought a car hit the utility pole, until he saw the wave of water coming toward him.  

“The water was so powerful. It was like a tsunami. In a matter of minutes this whole area was under water,” Choy said as he gestured to his front yard.

Choy said he ran down the road as fast as he could.

It was hours before he was able to return.
When the water finally subsided, everything was covered with sand. His patio, his lanai. Everything.

“Now I have a beach,” Choy said.

Even his pool.

“(The pool is) totaled. It got to get pumped out. It’s all sand on the bottom right now,” Choy explained pointing at the gray murky water.

The board of water supply said the 30 inch water main is called a transmission main and it carries water all the way to Hawaii Kai. A smaller 12 inch pipe that feeds local residents was also damaged.

Choy said when the huge pipe burst, it pushed the the utility pole almost 10 feet to the side.

HECO crews restored power this afternoon to the 30 customers who were directly impacted.

Choy walked across the street through his neighbors yard.

“This is the lowest spot the water goes to the lowest spot…they have a lake here thanks to the broken water main,” he said.

Choy said he was told the 12 inch water pipe, the feeds residents on Haleaha Road, should be fixed by the end of the day, but the 30 inch water main is going to take a little longer to repair.

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