An electrical failure at the Hilo Wastewater Treatment Plant caused a discharge of more than 71,000 gallons of partially treated, disinfected wastewater into the ocean on Thursday evening, the county’s Wastewater Division said Friday afternoon.
According to a written statement, the bypass occurred from 7:42 p.m. to 8:25 p.m., a “redundant electrical system” was deployed to restore power at the facility.
The Wastewater Division is troubleshooting the electrical system to correct the problem, according to the statement, and warning signs are being posted in the shoreline areas around the discharge site, which is in Puhi Bay on the Keaukaha shoreline. The shoreline within the posted areas is closed to swimming, fishing and boating, as a precaution.
Water will be sampled daily to confirm that the bypass hasn’t resulted in increased bacteria levels at the shoreline, and as soon as test results indicate it’s safe to reopen the shoreline areas, signs will be removed and the public notified, according to the statement.