State spends $115,000 to clean debris off Lagoon Drive


It’s hard to forget the summer down pour when Tropical Storm Darby passed Oahu in late July.

The storm flooded streams and freeways. It also made some homes unlivable not to mention flood waters flushed out tons of garbage into the ocean. Keehi Lagoon was overcome with debris.

KHON2 learned that the debris also caused a potentially dangerous mess near the Honolulu Airport.

A spokesperson from the Department of Transportation says the debris collected over a period of time.

It was so bad that it blocked the boathouse and ramp. The state firefighters could not have responded if there was an aviation emergency in the ocean.

Refrigerators, tires, and needles were some of the things that littered the shoreline of Lagoon Drive of Sealane 1.

It took 18 hazmat technicians to clean up the shoreline and three excavators to remove the debris. Even boats were used to clean up the mess.

KHON2 asked when did the state start picking up the debris and how long did that take?

“It took about 10 days to pick up all that debris that was there like I mentioned there’s about 207 tons of garbage,” said state Department of Transportation spokesperson Tim Sakahara.

The garbage blocked the boathouse and boat ramp.

First responders at the station were ready to respond to land emergencies.

“If there was an water emergency that would have been more difficult to respond and get those water craft or resources out onto the water,” said Sakahara.

The DOT says it would have had to rely on other agencies.

“Fortunately there was no emergency situation during that time. If there was we would have to rely a lot on the county resources and the Coast Guard which we do anyway,” said Sakahara.

A contractor was hired to clean up the mess which cost the state about $115,000.

KHON2 asked what is the state doing so that debris doesn’t collect like that again?

“Well like I said before, big storm events, they are going and clearing out debris from underneath bridges that might collect to make sure everything is free so that the water does freely go down to the drains and out to the ocean as is,” said Sakahara.

The debris also made the Sealane along Lagoon Drive too dangerous for sea-planes to land.

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